Friday, April 29, 2011

The Sexual Subversive [Abstinence]

¡Hola! Everybody...
First: This week at the online magazine, Subversify, I wade into the Birther Bullshit. What? It had to be done! LOL Click here to read/ leave a comment.

Today’s post was inspired in part by a Facebook contact’s question…

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-=[ Requiem for a Serial fornicator ]=-

Until we lose ourselves there is no hope of finding of finding ourselves.
-- Arthur Miller


Today I want to explore what happens to the way we relate if we awaken even a little bit. This is the kicker, the fire with which we test ourselves. When one person meets another and the interplay of energy takes place, it pushes to the surface all the little places we pushed back from the light. Whether it’s a history of violence, emotional bulimia, habitual criticism, or the trauma that comes from repeatedly having our trust betrayed -- these become like little bubbles that rise to the top, that come to the surface. What happens in a relationship is that your beloved becomes a mirror of yourself.

For most of my adult life my relationships with women were a series of dysfunctional interactions that either left me bruised and bleeding, or caused others much pain. My relationship history resembled a series of horrific car crashes. My way of relating to women was screwed totally and so when I decided to make changes in my life, the first thing I did was call a moratorium on romantic relationships. I knew I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing, so I wanted to stop, look, listen, and learn a new way.

At some deeper level I realized that there was something I was looking for, or better out, I had a sense of lack -- as if a piece of me were kissing. I felt that at the core of my being there was a broken window with a fierce wind blowing through -- a void, if you will. I experienced this void as a primal wound, a profound but delusional sense of loneliness.

I am not speaking of the regular, run-of-the-mill variety -- the kind of loneliness we all encounter at some point or another. There’s this kind of loneliness that no matter how firmly wrapped we are in our lover’s embrace still manages to slither in for a brief stay every once in while.

If I were to be honest, there’s not much to say about loneliness, for it’s not a broad subject. Shit, even a child, alone in her room, can travel the complete range of loneliness, from border to border, in less time than it will take you to read this.

But though it may not be broad, it is deep. Loneliness, dearest, is a river deeper than the ocean. But even here there’s no mystery. The same precocious child is liable to fall quickly to the very bottom without even trying. And since the depths of loneliness cannot sustain human life, the child will swim to the surface, perhaps none the worse for wear.

Some of us, however, insist on bringing breathing aids with us for longer stays: sex, more sex, imaginary friends, drugs and alcohol, soul-corroding relationships, mind-numbing entertainment, virtuality, inflexible routines, and pets (pets, in my opinion, are some of the best enablers of loneliness). With the help of these aids, a poor soul can survive the airless profundity of loneliness long enough to experience its worst horror -- its duration.

I wanted a way out, some measure of, if not happiness, at least some serenity. I went almost two and a half years without a relationship and was sexually abstinent during that time (yup). For clarity’s sake, I define sexual abstinence as refraining from having sex with another human being.

One of the first things I learned during this time was that I couldn’t love another until I could love myself. Not an earth-shattering insight, huh? I’m sure many will immediately make the point that they love themselves, but there’s a need to look at this a little deeper. People think if they boost their self-esteem that this equals self love. However, let me ask you this: if what you perceive as your self is basically fucked up, isn’t boosting the self-esteem of something inherently flawed still fucked up? Or put more bluntly, tell me you don’t experience yourself as alone and separate at least some of the time.

In other words, truly learning to love yourself unconditionally is to accept yourself as you are, fearlessly exploring where you are causing your own suffering, learning how to move away from those patterns, and creating newer ways of relating. I’m sure we have plenty of arrogant people walking around “loving” themselves, but that's not the kind of love I’m talking about here, people.

So there I was trying love to myself unconditionally, warts and all, trying to uncover where I was causing my own pain and embarking on that long and hard road back to my original self. I took a clear look at and became willing to undo my character defects. Along the way, I learned to relate to women as human beings, rather than as objects of my desire and made life-long friends in the process. In taking away the relationship (“I need you”) and sex (“I want to fuck you”) agenda, allowed me the space to relate to women as friends, as people, as equals.

And it was a great discovery for me. I mean women are totally fascinating creatures with thoughts, perspectives, ideas, compassion, etc. Okay, I'm exaggerating a little here, I knew all this before, but the process of removing the “game,” allowed me to experience women in ways I never dreamed of before and as a result, my relationships changed for the better.

Well, time passed, I grew, I became more comfortable in my own skin, to borrow a phrase from a friend, and I thought I had made great progress. And you know what? I did! I learned for example, that I was acting scripts, some of which were written before I was born; that I had major trust issues, that I often resisted true intimacy because I was afraid of allowing people close to me (and then wonder why I felt alone); I encountered a fear that fueled my anger -- all this with an attitude of acceptance and unconditional love. In addition, I was in the process of living a more spiritually centered life and I like to think that made me a better person.

Then I met the woman who would eventually become my wife…

Oh boy! My marriage was one of the most challenging experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I loved and was loved in return; I grew in ways I never imagined as a result of my marriage and I still reap the rewards of that union. But remember all those things I mentioned working on? That I thought I had at least partially resolved? They all came back with a vengeance!

At first I couldn’t understand it, where were all these little monsters coming from? Why were all my ego centered goblins running rampant in my love life? Didn’t I work through that anger issue? And the trust thingee I thought I got rid of that little fucker. Like abandoned children, all my little inner monsters were wreaking havoc with the tidy picture I was attempting to construct.

As I said before, relationships act as a mirror to our deepest selves and those little gremlins running around in the dark corners of our psyches will come out to play as soon as we get close to someone. It is almost impossible for us to get to know ourselves alone. There are always blind spots, unexplored corners of our past and present lurking somewhere. In this way, relationships become a way for us to put to the test all that we have learned. A relationship, especially a romantic relationship, is the crucible in which we dissolve the impurities of our hearts. It is where the dross is turned into the golden thread with which we sew the tears in our hearts.

Genuine love lies in making relationship like a practice -- a sacred discipline -- in which two people agree to make (and change) agreements, explore honesty (true honesty), and questioning assumptions

For me, awakening, or living in a more conscious manner, is a process. Sometimes I'm in a groove and things flow, at other times, I slip and really make an asshole of myself in the process. However the point is the practice, not the perfection, or playing to some spiritual stereotype. The point, I guess, is that uncovering the heart means exposing the very core of the self. This is a scary move into unknown territory, even though it is a part of our inner selves that we are uncovering. The heart symbolizes feeling and intuition. Though we may be fearful, the true danger is in the death, not the exploration, of the heart. But I have learned that the uncovered heart contains both vulnerability and strength. Its strength perhaps lies precisely in that ability to open itself to itself, with an exquisite grace that invites the hearts of others to do so too.

Love,

Eddie

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How the Birthers See Obama's Birth Certificate

Yup...

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B-I-N-G-O!

(click to enlarge)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Myth Busters [Hunger]

¡Hola! Everybody...
Over the years, my “Myth Buster Mondays” posts have taught me one thing: regardless of the strength and validity of the evidence to the contrary, most people will throw away the facts and cling to the belief. I would submit that today will be no different...

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-=[ Hunger Myths ]=-

They must find it difficult...those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.

-- Gerald Massey


This one is a pet peeve of mine because I’ve heard countless people, even some who consider themselves intelligent, repeat fallacies about world hunger. The best way I’ve seen it put is that while “hunger is not a myth... myths keep us from ending hunger.” At least 700 million people do not have enough to eat, or are “food insecure.” Additionally, every year, at least 12 million children die of hunger.

If you’re like many people, you’re most likely inclined to think that if only those promiscuous third world people would stop fucking like rabbits and stop having so many babies, they would have enough food to eat (C’mon, we all know black and brown women have low morals and will drop litters of future American-hating, cop-killing, terrorist sociopaths!) Okay, you might think I overstate the issue, but I think not. However, the population explanation has the advantage of easing our collective guilt because the implication is that starving people have only themselves to blame for their predicament (cue chants of: “John Galt! John Galt!... ”).

However, the reality says otherwise. For example, the evidence from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization shows that there is no relationship between hunger and population density. Yes, Virginia, there are countries where people are both crowded and malnourished. But there are also countries where people are starving despite a relatively low ratio of people to farmable land. Nigeria, Brazil, and Bolivia, where abundant food resources coexist with hunger, come to mind. For every Bangladesh, a densely populated and hungry country, we find a Costa Rica, with only half of Honduras’ cropped acres per person, boasts a life expectancy11 years longer than that of Honduras and close to that of developed countries. Rapid population growth is not the root cause of hunger. Then there are countries with far higher population density but much less hunger, such as Japan and other advanced nations.

As so often happens when we look at commonly held beliefs, we find that an apparent cause-and-effect relationship doesn’t stand up to critical scrutiny. The most likely explanation, according to the empirical work of Francis Moore Lappé and her associates at the Institute for Food and Development Policy, is that when hunger and population growth do go together it is because they are both consequences of the same dynamic: powerlessness.

Let’s take a look at some basic facts. The world’s food supply is most realistically described as abundant, not scarce. For example, there is enough wheat, rice and other grains produced to provide every human being with 3,500 calories a day. That doesn’t even count many other staples such as vegetables, beans, nuts, root crops, fruits, grass-fed meats, and fish. Enough food is available to provide at least 4.3 pounds of food per person a day worldwide -- enough to make most people fat! The problem is that many people are too poor to buy readily available food. Even most “hungry countries” have enough food for all their people right now. However, if a minority of rich people or multinational corporations controls most of the land -- as is true in countries previously mentioned -- then neither the size of the population nor the number arable acres is the cause of the problem. Even relatively few people can be kept poor and hungry if they’re working for someone else. And even plentiful cropland isn’t going to alleviate the problem if it’s being used to raise feed for cows that will end up under a Mickey Dee’s heat lamp as a hamburger.

In fact, having many children (potential breadwinners) could be viewed as a rationale strategy for survival when people live from hand to mouth. At the same time, well-meaning birth control programs can’t by themselves improve people’s lives. The available evidence suggests that starvation is less a function of people having too many mouths to feed than of having too little control over their bodies, their land, their time, and their future.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization...

Resources

Lappé, F. M., Collins, J., Rosset, P., & Esparza, L. (1998). World hunger: 12 myths. New York: Grove Press

Ahn, C. (Ed.). (2003). Shafted: Free trade and America's working poor. New York: Food First Books.

Food First/ Institute for Food & Development Policy (click here)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Sermon [Redemption Song]

¡Hola! Everybody...
Today's blog art is by the great Salvador Dali. I can't find an image of it, but Dalí made a gift to the men’s prison in lieu of a personal appearance there. He was supposed to give an art class to the inmates in 1965 but canceled due to illness. He donated the then new gouache-ink-and-pencil sketch, specifically “For the dining room of the Prisoners Rikers Island”, as he inscribed it. And he sent some encouraging words for the boys: “You are artists. Don’t think of your life as finished for you. With art, you have always to feel free.”

It was stolen by correction guards in 2004 and is believed to have been destroyed.

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-=[ Redemption Song ]=-

Woman, why are you weeping?

-- Jesus to Mary Magdalene (John 20:15)


For a long time I refused to go to funerals. I simply wouldn’t go. On one level, I didn’t want to see my loved ones garishly made up lying in some casket. I have seen many, many people leave this existence. Most of the people I was raised with are dead or dying. I grew up in a violent world and quite a few were taken in the prime of their lives -- victims of violence, disease, or addiction. On another level, I didn’t want to come face-to-face with death. Especially death warmed over as I used to call funerals in mainstream US culture.

I didn’t like funerals. Didn’t like death… So I never went.

Then one day, I was shopping with a lover and she picked out a dress she loved so much she said, “This is the dress I want to be buried in!” We laughed about it. We, she, was young and beautiful, full of life. She was the Bonnie to my Clyde, committing crimes of life in that devil-may-care way only the foolish and young can justify. We didn’t last long together, less than two months, but we created so much drama in one another lives that we would become forever attached. Years later, after all had been done between us, she died in my arms.

People have a fucked up knack of dying around me.

When it came time to make preparations, her sister confided in me that she knew what dress to bury her in and when I saw it, it cut me deep because it was that very same dress we picked out that day so many years before. When I told her sister, she smiled because my former partner in crime had told her sister the same thing. I wasn’t planning on attending her funeral, but her sister insisted.

I am not a practicing Christian. I don’t accept Jesus, or anyone else, as my savior, nor do I believe in a literal translation of the Bible, Old or New. However, I do think that some of the teachings attributed to Jesus of Nazareth are sublime. My personal belief, borne of personal experience and investigation, is that the core teachings of Jesus were corrupted for personal and political gain. Thomas Jefferson held similar views and he wrote a version of the Gospels, now known as the “Jeffersonian Bible.” In it, he excised the parts he felt were contradictory to the core message of hope and love of the Nazarene. And believe me, there’s lots of contradiction in the Gospels.

When Jesus finds Mary Magdalene crying at the door of the tomb, he says to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” As I see it, Jesus wasn’t asking a rhetorical question. He wanted to know why we worry and sob and fret when hope is always present, if we could just tap into it.

For me, Easter is about liberation, and it’s especially meaningful for a person like me who sometimes feels chained to moodiness and negativity too much of the time. The celebration of the resurrection is a chance for us to acknowledge Jesus’ message of hope and in so doing, grab the hope that is already there.

Anyone else notice that of all the people he showed himself to, it was the women first? In fact, of all the women, it wasn’t his mother, but Mary Magdalene to whom Jesus appeared first. I don’t take Jesus’ resurrection literally, but there is a message there that resonates with my own life. Jesus’ life, like mine, was a redemption song. And like Jesus, it was the women in my life who tended to me -- tended to me through my own passage to a new life. Maybe this is saying something about the Feminine Principle and how far we have moved away from that healing force. For me, this was no accident of the Gospels. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene because she, more than nay other disciple, believed in him. All those other bums, betrayed and denied him, didn’t they?

When I cried at my ex-lover’s funeral, it seems as if I cried for all the loved ones I had never said good-bye to -- the one’s whose funerals I didn’t attend. It was as if all that loss I was holding on to came out like a river. It was at once one the of the saddest and most liberating experiences in my life. I read somewhere the other day that the opposite of loss is finding. It’s a deceptively profound statement.

Grief is what we add on to loss. It is a learned behavior, specific only to some cultures. It is neither unavoidable nor universal. In some Buddhist cultures, for example, you will never see someone cry at a cremation. Their cultural perspective on death is one of acceptance in a way foreign to Western theories of grief and loss.

Similarly, when Jesus appeared to the disciples he asked, “Why are you troubled?” Jesus says to the disciples in Luke’s gospel when he appears to them after his “resurrection.”\

My Buddhist practice has slowly transformed my view of grief -- has actually opened the door for me to see that there’s an alternative to grief. It’s not that grief is wrong, only that there’s another possibility. Loss of a loved one can be viewed in another way, a way that avoids the long days of aching, oftentimes crippling grief.

Over the years since my ex-lover’s death, I have attended many funerals and have had two others die in my arms. I sometimes cry at funerals but I understand death differently today. A teacher once explained it to me in simple terms. “Have you ever been to a concert and experience the shouts of ‘more!’ coming from the audience when it came time to end?” he asked. “Usually, the musicians will play one or two encores, but eventually they have to pack up their gear and leave. I’ve experienced this many times and when I’m going home, I usually reflect on how great the music was and how lucky I was to have been there. I never felt grief at the end of a concert.”

And that is exactly how I experience life and death today. I see it as if a magnificent concert had come to an end. I revel in the wonderful performance. I was there shouting loudly, “More!” when it came to end the performance. My loved ones struggled to stay alive a little longer, but eventually they had to let go -- they had to pack up their instruments and “go home.” Today, I choose to see instead what magnificent lives my friends and loved ones led. What powerful inspirations they were in my life. Their shining power of example. I reflect mostly how fortunate I was to have been in their lives to witness their glorious and beautiful power. Today, I walk away from funerals feeling a lot like I do after watching a great performance: exhilaration. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Grief is seeing only what has been taken away from you. The celebration of a life is recognizing all that we were blessed with, and expressing that gratitude. When I die (and we all will die sooner or later) I hope this is what people will feel for my own performance and that people will celebrate life and not just mourn my death.

Whatever your belief, this has to be part of the message of the resurrection, whether you understand it as literal or not. That the concerts of our lives continue reverberating and in that way create more life. That our lives are never ended, but live in our deeds and actions… and our memories.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Sexual Subversive [In Praise of Breasts]

¡Hola! Everybody…
I have a confession to make: I just cannot watch a woman eat an ice cream cone. No matter her age – young or old -- physical appearance – fat or
skinny, pretty or ugly – I cannot for the life of me watch a woman eat an ice cream cone without thinking of her blowjob style. In my mind, the way a woman handles an ice cream cone is indicative of her dick-sucking methodology. I actually become aroused watching a woman eat an ice cream cone.

* * *

-=[ The Breast ]=-

“Thy breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.”
-- Song of Solomon, 4:5 The Bible

I am not a “breast man” in the sense of having a fascination or over-preoccupation with big boobs as with other men in our culture. However, if you were thinking of sticking your lovely tit in my mouth (probably to shut me up), please do! I just want to state for the record that I have never turned down the sexual advances of a big-breasted woman!

Actually, I do love breasts, love to suck on them, marvel at their softness, rest my head on them. While my preference is for smaller breasts (for a perverse reason), I hold a special attraction what are known as “puffies.” These are breasts with swollen nipples (the picture above is an example). GAWD! I love puffies! If you have puffies, you should be proud. I think they are one of the most beautiful sights on a female form (send pics! LOL).

Anyway, there’s probably never been a culture in history that has been blind to the beauty of the female breast. This is no surprise considering the female breast has suckled civilization. More importantly, it’s also a powerful trigger of sexual arousal and pleasure.

The breast, nipple, and areola (the darker ring that encircles the nipple) are dense in nerve endings, which is why they’re so sensitive to all kinds of stimulation. In fact, sex researchers at the Masters and Johnson Institute in St. Louis report that a tiny fraction of women (about 1 percent) are able to masturbate to orgasm simply by touching and stroking their nipples and breasts. Apparently, women have a much higher ability than men to “erogenize” areas of the body that are separate from the genitals. [On a side note, please remind me to post my critique on scientific research on the female orgasm.]

Conversely, many women simply do not respond to having their breasts kissed, sucked, or stroked. Studies have shown that although 90 percent of women say their partners like to fondle their breasts during sex play, only about 50 percent actually like it. Some women find it uncomfortable or even painful, especially just before or during menstruation, when breasts seem to become tender. According to researchers, the only real stimulation many women get in breast play is “watching the man enjoy it.” Whatever the case, communication is key in creating an intimate language. If you’re a woman, tell your partner if you enjoy it or not; if you’re a man, ask her if she does or doesn’t.

There are changes a woman’s breasts undergo during sexual arousal that are dependent on whether a woman has breastfed. In a woman with unsuckled (“virginal”) breasts, nipple erection is usually the first sign of arousal. Then the areolas swell, often so much that “frequently it looks as if she’s lost nipple erection,” says sex researcher Dr. Masters who has probably observed the process more than any man in history. Then the breast itself, engorged with blood, begins to swell – sometimes by 20 or 25 percent. It becomes so swollen that the blue traceries of veins can be seen and resembles a nursing breast.

[Note: not all women get erect nipples, though – and if your nipples don’t stand at attention when you’re aroused, you shouldn’t fear that you’re frigid. In addition, some women have inverted nipple – “innies” instead of “outties” – which are quite normal but make nipple erection impossible.]

The breast of a woman who has suckled a child goes through the same changes during arousal, except that it doesn’t swell as much. Nursing results in a changed pattern of blood flow.

Breasts are probably as much a symbol of womanliness to women as they are to men, at least in part because breast growth is usually the first sign of puberty in girls. Usually, breasts begin to bud after the age of 12, but in some girls, the process may begin as early as eight. Budding breasts are the first proud announcement of a whirlwind parade of changes that accompany puberty, usually followed by the appearance of downy straight pubic hair, then a generalized growth spurt, coarser pubic hair, menstruation, and finally the growth of hair beneath the arms.

The media obsession with large breasts and breasts in general has a huge impact on the way women view their bodies. For example, many women worry that their breasts are not the same size. The truth is that just as no two pairs of feet are precisely matched, no woman has a perfectly matched pair of breasts. In fact, some studies show that that more than half of all American women have breasts that vary so much in size that it’s noticeable to the naked eye. Nearly a quarter have one breast that is at least 20 percent larger than the other, reports the Kinsey Institute.

Many women long for bigger breasts in the belief that men will find them more attractive. Yet the truth may be that men are not infatuated with the Dolly Parton School of Female Beauty as women think they are. The Kinsey Institute reports that at least one study of what men find sexually attractive in women showed that only half even mentioned breasts at all, and of those, half said they preferred small ones.

I say this because many women buy into the image of those high, full, firm, breasts our culture idolizes. Over a million American women have had breast augmentation surgery, involving the implantation of envelopes filled with silicone gel or a saline solution. The vast majority of these procedures (80 percent) were done for cosmetic reasons. Just so you know, breast implants may pose serious medical side effects. So much, in fact, that the FDA has called for a moratorium on the procedure in the past. While there aren’t any conclusive findings either way, there are enough reports of health

problems associated with implants leave cause for concern. Secondly, there isn’t enough conclusive data to conclude that implants are completely safe. Most troublesome is the likelihood that implants interfere with early detection of breast cancer.

The point being that every breast has a potential admirer and we shouldn’t get so caught up in the barrage of media images where impossibly skinny women with huge breasts have become the norm for female beauty. Ladies? Those women are freaks, and while some may have great bone structure, a size “zero” with double-D cups you can hang your coat on is really not that sexually attractive.

Especially is she ain’t got no ass! LOL

Love,

Eddie

PS: Sex is good for you!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Racism is a Verb

¡Hola! Everybody...
It has been a while...

* * *

-=[ Racism is a Verb ]=-

White America remains unable to believe that Black America's grievances are real; they are unable to believe this because they cannot face what this fact says about themselves and their country.

-- James Baldwin


C. Wright Mills spoke of racism as an epistemology of ignorance. Not the ignorance usually thought of as the passive opposite of knowledge, but an ignorance that is resistant and aggressive and not confined to the illiterate and uneducated, but disseminated at the highest levels and presenting itself as knowledge. This is how racism is maintained and cultivated in our society.

My fellow race-card-playing racist/ bootleg video-selling Nigerian co-conspirator, Rippa, recently wrote about the California Republican official, Marilyn Davenport, who thought circulating an email with a photo attached of president Obama pictured as the offspring of apes as totally appropriate. This is apparently the implicit birther punchline to questions about the president’s authenticity. Of course, most conservatives deny racism, either dismissing this incident as an aberration and not an accurate depiction of US conservatism; or (as in the case of Ms. Davenport), express bewilderment/ shock at the reactions to what is (to them) a harmless joke, in the process playing the “PC Police victim” card.

These same hypocrites, however, will understand what you’re about to read as proof that yours truly is a racist. Interesting times, indeed...

Not a day goes by the United States without a racial incident. From the overtly racist savage beatings and murders of people of color, to the more subtle job and housing discrimination, and the countless petty insults that actually mock the “founding principles” all Americans are faced with the reality and consequences of racism. With the election of an African American as president, however, cries of a postracial America was heard, not only from the racist conservative side, but also from what is considered the moderate (and in some case, liberal) voices. In reality, what many white people were saying was that Blacks and other people of color couldn’t complain anymore because the election of a black man to the highest office meant that racism was over. In many ways, the election of Obama served to vindicate the conservative voices of race deniers. Or, as I heard a white person state (without irony) immediately after the election, “If I ever hear another black person complain about racism, I’m just going to tell them to shut the fuck up.”

This view, repeated incessantly even before Obama was elected obscures the reality that color still matters in a society born from an economic system based on human bondage. A system supported by social and theological assumptions that rationalized the treatment of human beings as chattel.

Incidents of blatant racism appear regularly in the United States. Some of the more recent and memorable include the legal system of Louisiana which uncovered the unequal treatment of six teenage African-American boys; the portrayal of the first African-American President of the United States as a bug-eyed Sambo selling waffles and as a primitive medicine man complete with a bone through his nose; the countless public gaffes ranging from the racist macaca remark of former Virginia senator George Allen; to the numerous and astonishing racist pronouncements of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh (take your pick); the banishment of African-American children from a country club pool in Pennsylvania; the ill-tempered “You lie” [boy]! outburst by Congressman Joe Wilson during president Obama’s Congressional health care speech, and the almost nightly depictions of brown-skinned immigrants as vermin -- disease carriers infiltrating a vulnerable, pure, lily-white American society in order to leech off of it.

These are but a few of the reminders that race and racism are still deeply woven into the fabric of our society. It is important to learn about racism, to identify and eliminate it. What I mean by racism is the domination, exploitation, degradation, and disparagement of people of color by whites. Obviously some dark-skinned people express and harbor racist prejudice, but in a society founded on and run of, by, and for white people, in most situations, dark-skinned people lack the political and institutional power to control large numbers of whites. Nor can they establish and enforce policies that promote unequal treatment of whites, or to view them from a social, biological, and historical frame of reference that depicts them as intellectually, morally, and biologically inferior. But such is the way many whites, whether they admit it or not, view dark-skinned people.

As one study noted, “... a new form of prejudice has come to prominence, one that is preoccupied with matters of moral character, informed by the virtues associated with the traditions of individualism. Today, we say, prejudice is expressed by the language of American individualism.” In other words, conservative talking points about individual failure are racially coded expressions of negative stereotypes. A good example of this new and more subtle racism can be found in studies of residential discrimination. The Detroit Area Survey, for example, found that 16 percent of whites said they would feel uncomfortable in a neighborhood where 8 percent of the residents were black, and nearly the same number said they were unwilling to move to such an area. If the black percentage rose to 20 percent, 40 percent of all whites indicated they would not move there, 30 percent said they would be uncomfortable, and 15 percent would try to leave the area. Were a neighborhood be 53 percent black, 71 percent of whites would not wish to move there, 53 percent would try and leave, and 65 percent would be uncomfortable.

Contrary to conservative claims, one finds very little evidence that many white Americans believe in integrated neighborhoods. Especially if it means a neighborhood with more than a few black families. These racial stereotypes are not restricted solely to residential preference. They continue to be fundamental to (white) American culture. The FBI’s annual report on the incidence of hate crimes in the United States shows that the vast majority (71.5 percent) of hate crimes committed in this country were offenses by whites against blacks, compared to 17.3 percent committed against whites. It is also true that people of color sometimes react violently against whites as a reaction to being discriminated against.

Essentially, racism indicates not only negative prejudicial thoughts about people of color. It is more than an emotional, primitive disgust and loathing of them. It has an action component. Racism is a transitive verb that implies the discharge of these negative beliefs into an institutionally discriminatory behavior to the detriment of its victims. This is not meant as a rant against whites. Indeed, I am more interested in the institutional manifestations of racism, than the dead end of defining and exploring racism for a purely individual perspective. Rather, I am interested in searching for ways to illuminate how racism and inequality destroys our society. Racism in this country would exist even if there weren't any racists.

At its core, racism is really about the struggle for power and privilege. One way of looking at it is to consider who runs things. Another is to consider the question, “Who can do what to whom and how often?” Ms. Davenport (as with the majority of conservatives) was merely acting out on her “expressed” values as opposed to “values-at-work.” In other words, people will often commit verbally to what they think people want to hear (e.g., the “right” answer: equality, democracy, etc.), as opposed to how they actually make decisions and live their lives. In the vernacular, it would be expressed as “talking the talk” versus “walking the walk.”

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization...

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Adventures of a Sexual Subversive [Tell Me How it Feels]

¡Hola! Everybody…
The following is what I remember many years ago when I asked the question...

* * *

-=[ How Does it Feel? ]=-

So quiet now.
Soften yourself and listen.
Connected and motionless.

To the symphonic pulsing of our blood,
the crash of an eyelid,
the joyous trickle of a bead of sweat.

© 1977

Yup, in my naïveté, while I was in her, I asked the question and she looked at me in that singular way of hers -- that “look” that only experience and time can bestow on a woman’s beauty -- and she said…

I would love to tell you how it feels.

When I’m riding you out to the stars and your body is clustered in a point, and then it rockets away from you on waves of pleasure. I guess the ocean best expresses it best. The smell. The origin there: conceived and then burst into a billion cells. What I mean is we’ve all been intimate with the most profound creative experience: we’ve all been born.

I think that the people who are lost, that’s what they’re really most lost from. And sex. That is one of the simplest and most thrilling ways to get it back again…

Sometimes I think if I could make love once a week, that would take care of it. But then when that someone is around, I mean someone that I have feelings for, then I want to do it more. And then I think it’s mostly for affection. Then the coming -- the orgasm part -- is different. It’s a level that can be utterly satisfying, but I don’t have to have the stars. If I don’t need to come, I don’t. Then there are days when I wake up, and I know that at a certain point someone’s going to touch me on the shoulder, and I’m going to quake. There are those degrees. There’s that certain kind of thing that doesn’t make you knock your knees. And then the one that grabs you so hard and takes you all the way there. I think it’s the easiest way to understand a state of grace. And then when you begin to scream and shout because you know I’ve got it, then that’s the best. I’ve met very few men who can adequately gauge a wave.

To be honest, I came to the point where I really didn’t care to make love to a lot of men because it takes so long to learn someone in that way. It always manages to feel like such a struggle, and then the best are almost always the ones you’re going to love exponentially.

I used to be so afraid of being sexy. Now it really tickles me. I like to get to the point where I can wear a slip. It still takes me a while to get completely down. And I really only can with someone I like a lot. It’s like a dance. There’s the step you do for yourself. And the step you do for your lover. And the step for the audience too.

I guess certain people like certain things. I knew one who would grab my hair just above the wedge and pretend that he was going to touch that in the triangle there. I loved that feeling of a tease. It wasn’t technique. It was as if he were learning to play an instrument well.

Most men will tell you that the biggest thrill is to make it good for a woman and I can see how they would think that. I’d really like to know what other people feel.

Kissing is my favorite part.

I like to stop before it all explodes and just lie together, breathing together, like we are now. If I close my eyes and concentrate on what the space in pussy is holding, I can feel like I have a penis. It’s like being both sexes at the same time. And it is. [we both laugh at this]

Society definitely conditions us to be shy. I mean women. I think about those studies about women’s sexual peaks at thirty and I bet it really has more to with it actually taking a decade to overcome a certain kind of timidity or shame.

Before I called you that first time, I thought about you passionately for days. Then I called my friend and asked for your number and then I called you and casually invited you to meet me. I was practically throwing up. The first time I had done something like that, the man in question couldn’t deal with me being the instigator, or taking matters into my own hands, and he misread me, got all insecure, or maybe he saw me as a slut. I don’t know, I just know I lost interest then. It did help me understand the social aspect of the dating scene -- what men have to go through. Meet a girl, make a date, get laid. It’s terrifying. On the flip side, women are expected to ride along submissively, being sexually ignored, ungratified, or abused.

Until one day maybe she sees a freshly washed sheet on the clothesline with the dry air blowing through it and she decides that’s the way she wants to feel…

Love,

Eddie

Saturday, April 9, 2011

They Blamed Me...

¡Hola! Everybody…
Well, Obama and the democrats did their great impersonation of caring then acceded to some of the most vicious cuts in our history. Simply put, it's socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest of us. Think about that the next time your child tells you there are, like, 50 kids in her classroom, or when they kick grandma to the curb. If you’re interested in the faulty ideology behind these cuts, check out my contribution to the online magazine, Subversify, this week (click here).

It’s Saturday so…

* * *

Yesterdays [no. 4]



They blamed me for their headaches,
the noisy toilet,
rainy weekends,
broken fingernails,
and their growing insanity.

But I did them better,
in time, and
they finally blamed me
for deserting them
a favor of a taller,
thinner, and
happier woman.

And that...
is a blame
they can cherish
forever.

Me, © 2003

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Sexual Subversive [The Erotic Initiation]

¡Hola! Everybody…
It’s Friday and that means s-e-x!

* * *

-=[ Initiation ]=-


Whatever the particulars of our personal erotic initiation, whatever the snags that were present at that time, whatever the circumstances, the dangers, the people, the setting -- even mundane details like the time of day, the weather, an article of clothing, a smell, as piece of music, the color of our partner’s hair, the shape of his or her body -- all these become eroticized for us, often forever, by the supreme intensity of the moment of erotic emergence. The erotic initiation, that almost magical process of exploring an uncharted erotic landscape, is embedded with unique elements of power and vitality. These are erotic events in a class by themselves, often felt and remembered like no other memories. Psychologically, erotic initiations are powerful formative experiences that shape much of our subsequent development.

Since our culture so powerfully defines this as the primary distinction between initiate and novice, most of us turn immediately to our first experience of sexual intercourse when we think of erotic initiation. But even if we insist on narrowing erotic initiation to sexual initiation, there is more to be considered than we first have intercourse. What about the first time we seriously enter the realm of sexual feeling with a partner, whether or not this involves intercourse? What about the first time we experience ourselves as sexual beings, or become aware of sexual feelings inside of ourselves, whether or not this involves a partner? What about the first time we feel a deep inner sense of liquid movement, the first time we are aware of an erotic awakening, whether or not this has anything to do with sex?

And aren’t there more than one erotic initiation? As we become more experienced (and hopefully more developed) as sexual and erotic beings, there are other erotic initiations as well: the first time we play with a partner in a new way; the first time we experience orgasm; the first time we experience a new depth or quality of orgasm; the first time we explicitly act out a long-cherished fantasy; the first time we use a new sex toy -- or any sex toy at all; the first time we find ourselves, for reasons we may never understand, in a corner of the erotic garden we never visited before, perhaps never even imagined; the first time we surrender more deeply and psychologically than ever before; the first time we open ourselves to a new sexual partner; the first time we open to a new community of partners, people we previously considered off the erotic/ sexual map -- perhaps people of our own gender, perhaps people significantly older or younger than ourselves, perhaps people we previously considered unattractive or undesirable, perhaps people of a different ethnic group.

Erotic initiation doesn’t necessarily mean a one-time, two-time, or three-time experience; it can be a continuing and recurring aspect of erotic development and discovery. The universe of sexual and erotic possibility is immense. There is no danger of running out of territory to explore, if we choose to make ourselves available to the wonder and uncertainty of engaging the unfamiliar.

In a society such as ours, terrified of the full power of the erotic potential, we are encouraged to be as narrowly and unimaginatively erotic as possible. We are conditioned to find a comfortable erotic niche for ourselves, a tiny corner of the vast erotic wonderland, and to be content to spend all of our erotic life within that miniscule clearing. Indeed, we often feel grateful to have any place of erotic expression at all. It’s like spending all your cyber time on Facebook and mistaking that for the immensity of the internet.

No wonder so many couples become bored with their erotic connections after a few short years, or even months. No wonder so many individuals lose their sexual appetite altogether, wonder how the youth passion and fire have evaporated, or secretly seek out new partners to rekindle a feeling of erotic adventure and exploration.

While accounts of erotic initiation often focus on adolescence they also evoke the general sense of aliveness that is so much a part of the process of crossing erotic boundaries of all kinds. These tales of individual discovery remind us how exciting, awkward, humorous, and complex these circumstances often are. Perhaps it’s these stories and our memories of erotic exploration serve the purpose of reminding us of the importance in the continuing cultivation of the creativity and innovative expressions of Eros in our lives.

Love,

Eddie

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When Doves Cry

¡Hola! Everybody…
Today: a song... and then I get all pedantic on your ass!

* * *

-=[ When Doves Cry ]=-

Why do we scream at each other/ this is what it sounds like/ When doves cry…

-- Prince


A pair of doves, male and female, decided to share a nest together. In autumn, when the nuts were ripe, they worked hard to gather them and fill their nest. After some time, however, the nuts dried up and shrank. This caused them to take less space and give the appearance that there was less -- filling up only half the space.

Well, when the male dove noticed this, he got pissed off and said, “After all that hard work we went through gathering these nuts and now you’ve gone and eaten half of them you greedy bitch!”

The female dove, hurt by the accusation, answered, “I didn't eat them! All the nuts are here, they've just become smaller.”

The male dove could not be persuaded and became even more furious. “If you didn't eat them,” he asked in an accusing tone, “then why are there less?!! Don't get all brand new on me, you fat skank!” Consumed by his rage, he pecked at the female dove with his sharp beak until she was dead.

Several days passed and a heavy rain fell, then nuts got wet, reconstituted, filled up, and again there was a full nest of nuts. When the male dove saw this, he was ashamed and thought, “She didn't eat them after all. I killed her for no reason.”

Throughout the forest, you could hear his cries of grief, “Where are you, where have you gone?”

* * *

There are many people who are lost in a cloud of confusion. They pursue pleasure as if it could last forever and don't understand that life -- by its very nature -- is impermanent. People often do as they please, in the process breaking important boundaries and prohibitions, and later they feel remorse and grief. What purpose does that achieve? They are like the dove that mistakenly killed his mate.

Pedantically Yours,

Eddie

Monday, April 4, 2011

The 12 Steps for Everyone [Step Four]

¡Hola! Everybody...

It’s that time of month once again!

Note: Every month, I dedicate a post to one of the steps of Narcotics Anonymous. These posts are by no means intended as extensive exploration of recovery. They are merely brief expression of my strengths, hopes, and experiences culled from my ongoing journey toward recovery.

* * *

-=[ The Courage to Heal ]=-

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
-- Step Four

Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light but making the darkness conscious.
-- C.G. Jung

So far, we have explored what I call the “Recovery Cha Cha Cha” -- the first three steps that serve as the foundation to recovery and freedom from addiction. Step 1 (click here) confronted me with the major contradiction in my life: how I managed to feel powerful when, no matter how much I denied it, I was in actuality powerless and needed help. Step 2 (click here) challenged my grandiosity. I have heard it said that addicts are egomaniacs with low self-esteem and I couldn’t put it any better than that. My low self-esteem compelled me to inflate my ego, but all I ever felt inside was emptiness and feelings of worthlessness. Finally, Step 3 (click here) helped me see that my efforts at control were in reality ways in which to sabotage myself. Ultimately, I can only take responsibility for myself leaving the rest to my Higher Power, however I chose defined it.

Yesiree, the “Great I Am” is a hard bitch to ride!

Step Four took me a awhile mostly because I didn’t want to do it. I was afraid. I mean I did a lot of fucked up shit in my life -- especially towards the end of my active addiction. I took a lot. I was a taker. I became the kind of person that would steal something from you and then helped you look for it. My thinking was so fucked up that I could rationalize stealing toys from underneath a Christmas tree. I used (and was used) by women. I kid around that I was a former pimp and technically, I was. But I was no pimp, believe me. I used to like to say that I was a “broker for sexual services.” As much as the word is used today, it’s nothing to be proud of. What I was -- I was an addict. Period.

Who the fuck wants to look at that shit?

But by the time I made it back I was determined to see this through. I was tired of suffering needlessly and I wanted to do everything I could to bring some sanity into my life. This step mentions two important principles in recovery. One is “fearless.” But what is fearlessness? Is fearlessness a simple absence of fear? I started to look at the issue of fearlessness and I came upon the concept that courage (perhaps another way of saying “fearlessness”) is not so much the absence of fear, but committing to act in spite of the fear. And that became the first motivator for my doing a thorough Fourth Step: committing to act though I was shitting in my pants. I had had plenty of experience of plowing ahead even though I was scared. I did it all the time.

The next concept was the issue of morality. this one was a little more tricky for me. I was tired of the ‘crime and punishment” approach to morality. Yeah, I was (and still am) a fuckin sinner, but I didn’t need the black/ white sinner/ saint duality bullshit in my life. Beating up on myself wasn’t really working and in fact actually enabled my addiction (why get better if I was worthless?). So, I began to explore the meaning of moral and from a non-religious perspective “moral” could be viewed as a way of thinking, or what some psychologists call moral reasoning. There are developmental stages in moral reasoning, form the lower levels operating from purely selfish, narcissistic, infantile yearnings (the “me” stage) where actions are predicated solely on selfish needs, to higher forms of moral reasoning in which ones sense of self expands to include ones family, community, and eventually extends to all sentient beings.

What I found was that in my addiction I operated mostly from a purely infantile, selfish level of moral reasoning and it was killing me and infecting everyone who ever made contact with me.

I stole, but I stole more than property. I stole affection and trust and used that to feed my addiction. Perhaps my story is extreme, but let me ask: how many of us have stolen affection? How many of us have manipulated and controlled in order to feel better about ourselves?

Luckily, I had some great people around me in my early recovery. They helped me recover in spite of myself, because I was one dense mothefucker. To me the idea of a moral inventory was both scary but also contradictory. However, after having taken those first three steps and applying them to the best of my ability, I also knew I was still feeling a lot of shame and guilt about my past. My actions had clearly not been moral by any measure. It came to me that I needed to look into the shadows and to uncover those deep dark secrets or risk losing my recovery. By the time I had one year clean, I knew I wanted freedom from addiction more than anything in my life.

I took the advice of my sponsor and decided to write out my inventory. I used several different Fourth Step guides and my inventory was extensive (me being the perfectionist I am). What I saw when I did my Fourth Step were behavior patterns.

All around. Everywhere.

For the first time I saw I repeatedly fell into the same patterns and this revelation was largely liberating.

The Fourth Step gave me the gift of self-knowledge. By reviewing in detail my fears, desires, thoughts, motives, and actions, seeing how they created wreckage, I was better able to uncover the secrets. Some of you may have tried this with a therapist. I had also. However, what made this moral inventory different was the foundation of the first three steps paved the way for me to transcend my fear. I was on my way to living life based on love rather than an existence ruled by fear. What I saw underlying my habitual patterns was fear. Without the foundation of the first three steps, my moral inventory would’ve probably become another way to beat on myself, my shadow side eventually engulfing my efforts.

Because I was living the principle of the Third Step, I was able to turn over my fear and tendency to judge. I realized I was powerless to change my past, but that I was able to be accountable for now. Eventually, my Fourth Step gave me courage along with insight. And to a lesser degree, having faced myself with as much honesty as possible, I was able to lessen the fear and the shame. There were no more secrets, and more was being revealed.

The Fourth Step was a draining experience for me. Sometimes, when things seem their darkest, it’s difficult to see the positive in your life. It was difficult for me to acknowledge the positive in me. I lived as a phony, showing only the parts of myself that I thought were good. I lived between the secrets, the shame, exploitation, and abuse of my addiction and the good parts of my public persona. I felt like a phony about my public self because people did not know the real me. When I finally faced the addict in me, my addiction became my teacher and helped me uncover the goodness in me. I had to come to the realization that I was strong, enduring, clever, and willing to risk even in my addiction. All these were qualities the addict in me stole in order to pursue the illusion of being all-powerful

The addict in me was that same aspect of my personality that stole from me and then pretended it was helping me look for these qualities. I learned that all those good or skillful qualities were also a part of who I am and that they were available for me in my recovery.

My name is Eddie and I’m an addict in recovery...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

En Memorium: Manning Marable

¡Hola Everybody…
Today, something funny and something sad… First: check out Fox clown Glenn Beck’s response to my challenges to his reality-challenged diatribes (click here). He really goes after yours truly here.

Secondly…

* * *

-=[ Manning Marable ]=-

... we have to be aware of the power and importance of organizing not just around identity, but the materiality of daily life, which still, in many respects, is racialized for people of color. You build from that, but you have a grander social vision that transcends it and recognizes the strengths and limitations that are drawn from the particularity of identity.

-- Manning Marable


Manning Marable, scholar, writer, lecturer, and civil rights activist who founded the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University, died yesterday, April 1 at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City after a long illness. He was 60.

I first became acquainted with Prof. Manning’s work when his book, How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America was recommended to me by a mentor. A classic study of racism and class in the United States, it was central to my education and development as political activist (as it was for countless others). I was immediately taken by his grasp and range, his academic acumen and his ability to deconstruct complex processes in a way that made the bigger picture easier to understand.

Years later, I was invited to participate as a panelist at a conference organized by Manning Marable on mass incarceration at Columbia University and I had the pleasure of meeting him and speaking with him briefly. I was struck by his humble manner and his willingness to support the work of those who otherwise would not be heard. I was also overwhelmed that the Manning Marable would ask me, an unknown, to present my ideas. I was, like fuckin’ high, that day.

I, like many of us familiar with his work, was looking forward to his magnum opus, his biography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, a project he devoted ten years of his life to bring to fruition. The book is scheduled to be published on Monday, and Mr. Marable, as was his wont, had been looking forward to leading a vigorous public discussion of his ideas. The book promises to be intellectually stimulating and challenges both popular and scholarly portrayals of Malcolm X, the black nationalist leader, describing a man often subject to doubts about religion, politics and other matters, a departure from the authoritarian figure of unswerving moral certainty that became an enduring icon of African-American pride.

The work is particularly critical of Alex Haley’s often cited work, the “Autobiography of Malcolm X,” now a regular fixture on college reading lists, which Mr. Marable described as “fictive.” Drawing on diaries, private correspondence and surveillance records to a much greater extent than previous biographies, Manning’s book also suggests that the New York City Police Department and the F.B.I. had advance knowledge of Malcolm X’s assassination but allowed it to happen and then deliberately bungled the investigation.

I will be looking forward to reading this work and I will definitely mourn the passing of what was surely one of the intellectual giants of The Cause. It is said that no one individual truly dies. That the actions we commit in our lives continue to reverberate long after we are gone. It is said that one has died only when the memory of that individual is lost. If this indeed the case, then Manning Marable will live in our heart of hearts for a long time.

RIP Prof. Marable…

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Outlaw of Sex [Great Lovers]

¡Hola! Everybody…
Ultimately, we're all fools for love... LOL

* * *

-=[ Great Lovers ]=-
Listen to learn and learn to listen.
-- Anonymous


We all like to pay lip service to this thing we call love. We like to say it -- a lot. For example, we like to say, “I love you.” We want to be loved – or rather to have other people use the word in reference to us (“S/he loves me”). I submit that what we don’t like is the action of love. I hate to burst your bubble people, but Santa Claus doesn’t exist and love isn’t a feeling. Nope, love is a verb -- love is an action.

One of the reasons I am so amazed at some of the shenanigans on the internet is that I find it hard to understand how people can get caught up in the illusory trap of “falling” in love with someone they’ve never met. I certainly can understand developing some affection and having a feeling for a photograph and internet profile, but falling in love?

::blank stare::

In my book, that’s grounds for having someone committed. And yours truly isn't exempt. I will admit to having fallen into that trap myself. Photographs are fun and they never really let you down like real people do. For example, today's blog photo is one of a series of photos someone sent to me a few years ago. No, I didn't fall in love with her, but I sure would love to fuck her. LOL In actuality, the photos are a fake. Rather, they are photos of someone other than the person who sent them.

Those who are “great lovers” know that within the framework of being in love there’s passion, desire, hope, wonder, appreciation, enjoyment, affection, ecstasy – the whole gamut of the most positive emotions and energy states. However, as I said before: love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action, an act of will. All the feelings in the world and $2 won't get you on a NYC subway – which is another way of saying that feelings ain’t jack. Love isn’t texting someone a pic of your shaved vagina/ erect penis with the caption “thinking of you.” Love isn’t copying-and-pasting one of those cheesy email forwards to everyone in your email contacts folder. In fact, I would say sending me any email forward is actually an act of hate. However, I do appreciate photos of your pussy/ ass, so keep ‘em coming champ.

I’m kidding! But the point I’m trying to make is that when we truly love someone we extend ourselves to the person and for that person. That’s the act of love, or love action. It’s not clicking a mouse, or sending a text. Love is an act of will for the benefit of another person with no expectations. In more technical terms, when we love someone we extend our ego boundaries – close down our defenses – to include that other person as part of our identity. In a way, love impels us to merge with another individual, in the process creating an enduring bond. This is the part that scares many of us because severing such a bond can cause a lot of pain.

It’s the same when you experience a deep, knee-knocking, grand mal seizure-like orgasm: it’s a transcendent spiritual experience: your ego defenses come tumbling down and for that brief moment, your sense of self expands to include so much more than the small, fragile, fearful mini me (ego). As a side note, this is one of the reasons why organized religions put so many taboos on sex, because ultimately sexual energy can be one of the most transformative, liberating, and spiritual experiences.

But I’m getting off track here…

The first way, I feel, that great lovers express their love is through something simple and obvious. What is at the heart of the experience of love that's so simple, so basic that is so easy to overlook is listening -- listening and attending. Sadly, at least in my experience, very few people attempt to hone their listening skills and at best listen at a very superficial level. Our society offers very few opportunities that teach listening at deeper levels.

We are born to bond. Without bonding, infants literally wither and die. As adults it’s the same for us: without connection we die physically, psychologically/ emotionally, spiritually. We are human and the defining experience of being human is bonding. We are wired for connection -- we’re walking/ talking neurological feedback loops. We become human through bonding, and as adults, bonding doesn’t end. As we mature, we continue to evolve where we can bond with a special someone in a healthy manner. This bonding demands the mastery of certain skills, skills that allow us to make contact, to establish relationships, and communication skills that promote understanding.

How do we do this?

The simple answer is by entering into our lover’s world. By matching and resonating with our loved one’s way of thinking and feeling, we begin to understand him or her. Empathy, a key emotional skill, is the ability to see the world through another’s eyes without losing ourselves in the process. This is part of the act of love -- or love action -- and great lovers fine-tune their empathy to high levels. On a superficial level, there’s listening, but at the more profound levels there’s listening in order to understand and that takes effort, time, and consideration. It takes a commitment to honesty and a willingness to become transparent (or translucent), so that the energy of love can shine through us with as little distortion as possible.

Active listening is difficult, it takes practice. Like sex, it’s not a natural act, it must be practiced as you would practice a musical instrument. In my experience, too many people are too caught up in their small needs and neuroses to strive toward being a great lover. Most of us, it seems, would rather just sit back, send photos of our nether regions, and call that love.

Love,

Eddie

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