Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lately I have stumbled on a number of internet spaces of women sharing their perspectives on beauty and sex and passion and how they cultivate it, what they think about the lack of lustre other women lament in their lives - and I wanted to speak, too. But I have no program, or steps, or system. I can't articulate a philosophy or outline a point of view. I don't have a package to sell that will unlock the mysteries of your womanhood or manhood. I think of myself as a skilled guide and mentor *because* of this, but it can make it difficult to offer a thought or two on things outside the immediate and most personal.

What I have is my own hunger to be able to take in and pour out the ravishing of life uninhibited.

What I have is a story. Still being told, in fact...

The first part is how we'd met. That was through an organization inspired by a popular spiritual writer. Although our purpose in gathering was impossible to determine no matter how many meetings we had. It was always a small gathering. I had initiated the meetings so I did a lot of talking, invitingly: Please someone else have thoughts, too. And he never did. But his attention was alluring to me. Innocent, and total.

The numbers dwindled quickly and the meetings tapered off. We were people sliding off tilting ground. And the sequence of events was so indistinct I don't remember anything about how it happened, but it came to be my birthday. And he knew And he came over. We didn't hang out as friends at this time so I think he must have come over for a meeting that no one else attended (only my housemate and her daughter were there). He had white flowers for me. I sat in a desk chair, blue padded back, springs, swivels. He sat at my feet. Still not saying many things, and yet, I still remember the caribbean sound of his voice. He smelled like a clean smoke. He never fiddled.

Did I mention the bright discomfort of my restless legs out loud or had he sensed it? because to me, his attention was it's own entity, I would have agreed to any mythology alighting on him in that moment.

His hands were firm and warm, pressing over my jeans, into my muscle. He kneeded upward, toward me. It was bold, and still innocent. He gave off no shyness about the space he took up or the intimacy with which he touched me. The conversation in the room was casual, including him in the moment, excluding him in the dialogue - he was always both there and not at the same time. I was afraid to breathe for blowing the moment away, for not knowing then, in my girl-heart, how to accept the adoration of a man.

Because I didn't. I knew *something* was happening - that I wanted it with butterfly flutters inside my skin. I felt the way the atmosphere weighs down on you when you're trying to connect to something, grasp it, grok it while it's still just outside your range, I had no idea how to let go into him.

So I was also nervous. Self - conscious, too. In the exact way that compels you to poke at a delicious moment, to feel for it's edges, cling to it maybe, tear at it. To want to destroy it precisely because you want so badly for it to be indisputably real. I didn't know yet how moments can't exist autonomous from the people inside them and that I had to hold up my end in order for it to continue. Instead I talked and talked trying to push the intimacy away from me with a helpless compulsion that matched the force of my hunger to move toward it. I tried to figure him out, make him come clear in my mind - supposing that if I knew what he was thinking or feeling or what he was like overall, I would know what I wanted. I didn't understand instincts and impulses and that wild call of desire.

I never look in his eyes like a woman and take it in, receive the gift. I look everywhere else. I want it to end so I can relax. I never ever want it to end...

The next part is where I am left holding the deflated balloon of the moment in my hands. Left to puzzle out from the yearning in my body, the regret and embarrassment in my heart, the cascade of thoughts in my mind - How could I grow to ensure that next time, I wouldn't hang limp and childish in my role?

And I think of that as the origin of my wild courting of desire and a wisdom for my wants.

Its where my music, my words, my relationships had their being - from my need to know what I wanted and to have the strength to withstand it. I never wanted to be left, again, without the clearness and boldness to take it in when it was offered. I wanted to have the balls to watch life be sexy, to watch people be sexy with life, with each other, with me. I wanted to have the patience not to rush a seductive narrative as it unfolded. I wanted to know every way my body spoke 'I want...' so I could let my body move toward what it loved or lusted for.

After all this time, even now, the rawness of an intimate moment will knock me off my guard, sting and choke at me. And if i'm not attentive i'll recede into that chatter that forms in my mind to block the ache of wanting and fear out, scratch along the sides of my throat and out of my mouth like damp cotton to press it down, drown it under that heavy sogginess of droning nonsense. If I'm alone when it hits, I can accomplish the same destruction by spending all day on the know how that is, I'm sure.

Which is the work I come back to over and over. Mary Oliver says it: my work is loving the world. Mine to. All my intellectual pursuits, daily interests, ways of occupying my time. The boldest way of being me is letting my body and being be ravished by the world. The worst part of my life are all the moments I couldn't let that happen - and all the reasons why and all the ways I avoided it. My maturity grows in relation to how directly, how immediately, how innocently, and without shyness I could be open to the wildest love. And this doesn't mean thinking everything is wonderful all the time. This isn't about only doing pleasurable things and ignoring the boring stuff - or pretending the boring stuff glitters. It means, to me, not hiding. Not hiding from what needs to be done, or from being adored alike.

The last part is your story of desire, of your man or woman body becoming a better home for your self. In some way, tell your story. Because it aches in you to be expressed and explored.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Nobody can tell you how. Not really. Over time, a good therapist may be able to give you the tools for you to come up with your own solution, but that’s not the same as saying therapy is the answer.

That’s why this shit is hard. You gotta do the work yourself, one shovel full of crazy at a time.

from dearcoketalk

I think this is part of why it can be hard for me to describe what therapy is or what I do as a therapist. Because the one thing we really want - someone to tell us *how* - is the exact thing I can't actually do.
I have tools that work for me, ones that didn't work for me, ones that are interesting but i haven't tried yet, ones I know about from other people's use - a pretty extensive repertoire, really - But I have no idea what the process will be like for someone else and even if we can come up with a bunch of great things to try *you* still have to go back into your life and *do* it. In my estimation any good therapist is clear on that - that there's a big difference between a therapy session and doing the work in your own life - so what's the point?

Well, she says it: This shit is hard. Fucking hard. Self awareness isn't anything like the 'think happy thoughts' spirituality permeating our culture. And it's not genuine if your sense of yourself is just based on general psychological theory or smart things other people said. Spirituality and psychology can be useful diving off points but it's always hard to look at yourself with the glamour and sparkles stripped away. It's hard to strip yourself down to the bones and then stand there still long enough to notice something useful. No matter how familiar you might be with the concepts of selfishness or cruelty or pain and other undesirable human experiences when you see them attached to you, it hurts.

There is a clear difference for me between doing it and not doing it. Being committed to self awareness and not being committed. Talking about it isn't enough. Being interested isn't enough. But it takes just as long sometimes to figure out what committed really is for you and what it isn't as it does to actually then proceed with the nitty gritty. It's unromantic. And i'm not even talking processing trauma or being emotionally stunted or dependent. Just plain, everyday life done consciously - pursuing self awareness is overwhelming.

So why do it alone?

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