Friday, February 29, 2008

The Friday Sex Blog [Talkin' 'Bout Sex]

¡Hola! Everybody...

I'd like to wish my dear friend, Dana, a very happy birthday. Dana and I have been connected for some time now and I love her creativity and her humor. Happy birthday sweetie!

I’m at an all-day strategic planning meeting, so I may not be able to finish today’s blog...

Today’s blog photo is courtesy of our very own Latina. Put simply, Latina is one of the most beautiful women I have ever looked at. Period. She’s what is euphemistically known as “raging beauty.” she also has a great sense of humor, which serves to make all the beauty seem so much more accessible and she comports herself with class. Dang!

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-=[ Talking Fuckin’ ]=-

“There under the covers of the blankets, in the half dark with air as still as held breath, I felt more connected to her, more alive. Her body was aglow with dampness, her eyes were gleams. I kneeled between her legs, bent lower and tasted her. Tasted her, exploring the folds of her cunt, lapping at her, imagining honey smearing my mouth. She began to move and I could tell how much she wanted this, how gloried it made her feel. My cock strained... ”

People really don’t enjoy talking about sex. Most find it clich├ęd, offensive, insensitive. I will say that I’m somewhat sympathetic though I spend a lot of time doing just that -- talking and writing about sex. But I have to say there problems with sex talk: the vocabulary is inept and the sex is, well, not so clear.

If you want to know the state of any issue, all you have to do is look at its nomenclature -- a fancy word that describes the language used to discuss something. When it comes to sex, we have a lousy vocabulary. We have a small set of words that offend somebody or other, even though they’re as old as the English language itself and actually convey important meanings. We have a sort of Jim Crow-era style mentality when it comes to certain sex words -- a linguistic segregation. We have the ones we can say in front of children. one for the “ladies,” others for the old geezers, the ones for the upper classes, the ones for criminals -- god forbid if I were to try to be sensitive in my sex blog! Our language, nomenclature, for sex -- the medicalized, the four lettered, and the romanticized -- is indicative of our anxieties about sex.

Take a good old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon word like fuck, as an example. In our current movie ratings system, if you use fuck to mean actually having sex, then the film isn’t deemed fit for younger viewers and must be rated for mature audiences. However, If you use fuck as a swear word to express anger or outrage, you can still advertise the film to minors. It’s the hypocrisy of middle class values that they are more concerned with appearances, and fucking isn’t an “appearance,” it’s the dirty deed. We’re conditioned to use sex words for hostility but anxious to use them for warmth or sex.

Fuck got a new lease on linguistic life in the counter culture of the sixties, along with the rest of the underground language for the body. Fuck embraced free love and snubbed its nose at the Vietnam War all at the same time. Sociologists like to describe the so-called sexual revolution in terms of The Pill, but it was just as much a revolt of language -- sexual language. Artists of the time wanted to speak their minds with an entire public language at their disposal. Some, like Lenny Bruce, were censored. But in the end, the state lost. The words were emancipated -- at least for men. Blacks had been on the forefront of sexual language for decades, with artists like Redd Foxx and those before him, exploring and pushing the sexual language envelope, but that was underneath the radar. Later black comics, Like Richard Pryor, did all kinds of shit to let loose all kinds of words.

Eventually, feminism -- the cutting-edge side anyway -- emancipated women to use all the “unladylike” words, reclaiming bold language like dyke and pussy and claim them as women’s turf, not merely men’s labels.

People are sometimes afraid to use sex words because they fear they will be perceived as sexual. If we keep our lips sealed (or zipped *grin*), we can maintain the illusion that we are not sexual creatures. Fuck became a word that so-called “well-bred” women could use and it also defined a generation gap. Popular music turned it into a lyric. But saying the word stills says more about your political stance than about your sexuality.

Think about it: words describing other controversial or painful aspects of our life don’t get people so upset. No one ever says, “I can’t stand the word war,” or no one goes off on a rant that “the word torture is too cruel to use,” or screams, “I won’t allow anyone to say taxes in my home!” We manage to discuss all kinds of horrible and psychologically conflicted issues privately and publicly without choking up. Even words the insult and stereotype, like spic and nigger get more public debate and defense than George Carlin’s “seven words you can’t say on television.” Sex is the only topic where we blame language for holding us back. We suffer from a collective sexual tongue-tiedness. Almost any sexual expression we come up with bothers someone either because it isn’t sensitive enough, or it’s too Disneyfied.

I had a woman friend who hated the word cunt. I happen to like it because it’s -- I don’t know -- to me the word cunt crosses certain boundaries. It’s subversive, profane. I have met people who can’t even bring themselves to say cunt. The point is that perhaps we do need more words that are sexual. As a Spanish/ English bilingual, I can tell you English misses the mark totally, when it comes to matters of sex. But we’re afraid of the words we do have at our disposal. In a way, we’re afraid that if we let the dangerous words out, sex will be more dangerous, life will be uglier, we won’t know what to expect.

I personally believe we need that surprise. There’s nothing uglier than silence and denial. We’re choking on our own sex words, drawing a line between this word and that. I have a cock, and I have balls, intelligence, and an active imagination and sometimes I have a range of experiences that begs for as many names as I can conceive.



Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Masculine

¡Hola! Everybody,
It’s cold and it’s my longest day. LOL But like a true Scholar-Warrior I wake and say, “It’s a good day to die” (or is that a Klingon Warrior?). Whatever, contrary to popular belief, tomorrow ain’t guaranteed, so imma put my mark out there today (along with clean underwear, just in case ).

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Men & Relationships

“When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping.
Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking.”

-- Elaine Boosler

OK, before I start this one I need to make it clear that I’m starting from the assumption that I’m talking about reasonably adapted men and women. I know both sides of the Love Wars will give me blank stares, but it’s true: there are evolved men and women out there – somewhere.

Secondly, when I speak of masculine essence, I’m not exclusively referring to men, and when I speak of feminine essence, I’m speaking exclusively about women. Though it is true that most men are of a masculine essence and most women are of a feminine essence. It really doesn’t have anything to with sexual orientation.

Think of yin and yang…

There are times in your life where you really hear something. I mean really hear something and it stays with you, changes your perspective. Sometimes it’s negative and sometimes it’s something positive. That’s why it’s bullshit that words (or text) doesn’t hurt. It does. Language is a powerful tool.

One day I had such an experience. I was involved in a long-term, committed relationship (yes, someone dared LOL!). My partner had been going through a particularly difficult phase at her job and it was really taking its toll on her. My ex was the type that internalized many things to the point that some things made her physically ill. As the good and dutiful husband, I was there for her when she came home and needed to vent or just talk. You know the deal: you’re in a relationship and after dinner and the dishes have been done, and the house monkey(s) put to bed, you lay together and you go over the day. It’s part of being married and probably something that many people miss (I don’t! LOL! kidding!).

My ex’s job issues had dominated those late night discussion and I honestly didn’t mind, it felt good that I could be there for her. But this went on for a while, and “we” (really me) had had some “solution-centered” discussions. Still, the problem at her job was firmly entrenched.

One day she called me from work nearly in tears and started telling me about some new horror and I really felt her pain. It made me crazy that she was going through all that insanity. So I did what many men do: I went into a long, detailed, well-thought-out analysis of her problem complete with escape clauses, solutions – well everything her problem needed. I was so happy, because I felt as if I had done something really great. And truth be told, I had given this a lot of thought. I had “fixed” the problem. I was beside myself! I was hard, I was so excited!

Then I noticed that there was complete silence on the other end of the line. Hello, are you there hun?


Now, I admit to being extremely dense but I know silences – especially female silences – and this wasn’t a good female silence. This wasn’t an “I-took-her-breath-away-with-my-brilliance” silence. This was a foreboding silence, a “you-ain’t-getting-no-poosie-tonight-(or ever)” silence. So, I did the next thing many men do and asked if there was anything wrong. My ex answered in a somber, almost exhausted, patient tone usually reserved for the clueless we all love and I never forgot what she said. Don’t get me wrong, I had heard similar things from other women, but for some reason this time it hit home. Her words were, If had wanted to call someone to fix my problem, I could’ve done that with a number of people. In fact, I’m a professional and despite what you may or may not think, I can handle myself quite well. I called you because I wanted to call someone to be there for me, not fix my problem.


Perhaps for people reading this, the above may not seem earth-shattering, but for me it was an epiphany. I mean, all I had to do was listen? Be there for her? Not fix anything?! I never knew!

Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic here, but her response to me actually took me for a loop. You see, as someone with a masculine essence, my deal is to fix things. That’s what I do, I solve problems. Fuck all that talk shit, honey, let’s go break down some doors and take no prisoners. LOL My ex didn’t want to be fixed. In fact, she hated when I went into “fix” mode, as she put it. What she wanted, I realized, was to feel my love, to experience my acceptance, to feel my caring for her. Instead, wheat she felt was my poking, looking for a loose screw here, a stuck emotion there.

The lesson was one I’m still learning. What I learned is that when the masculine truly understands the feminine heart, the need for questioning and problem-solving is put aside. Instead, maybe a caring embrace is called for, or I might dance her around the room, or gently stroke here cheek, or say how much I love her. What I learned is that continuing give her my playful love and sensitivity opens her heart and she eventually radiates happiness. Then, if there are details in her life or the relationship that we need to deal with, we can do so without the confusion. Rather than trying to fix her, I can apply my masculine sense of mission and direction to dealing with our lives in the world.



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Blackout Specials and the Glow of Botanica Candles

¡Hola! Everybody,...

I didn’t realize the internet ate this one up, so it never migrated to here from my other sites...

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-=[ Blackout Specials and the Glow of Botanica Candles ]=-

Two or three things I know for sure, and one of them is that to go on living I have to tell stories, that stories are the one sure way I know to touch the heart and change the world.”
-- Dorothy Allison

Come, gather closely, I am going to tell you a story – my story. Actually, it is only part of my story and this is no ordinary story but a story about story. So gather yourself, breathe softly… come listen, read…lean into this space, and be ready to receive the gift of story… and an invitation…

It’s nighttime and the only glow in the room comes from the huge glass-encased candles – bought from the corner “Botanica” -- storefront shops found in Puerto Rican neighborhoods that sell herbs and magic. Candle wax poured into long glass receptacles with images of the saints and the Virgin Mary inscribed on the glass and promising anything from good luck to financial success. Though it is dark and cold, we – my two sisters and I – sit in rapt attention before the figure of my father, who is in the process of telling us a story. Our mother is somewhere in the darkness preparing the “Blackout Specials” we have come to love so much. However, the real star tonight is the “story.” For it is the story we crave tonight. Its story time in the Rosario household and this is sacred space.

How many of us have experienced the relief and serenity after expressing our pain and sharing the burden of a sorrow with another? Life is too difficult, the day is too long, to carry our grief alone and keep our joys to ourselves. How many of us have spent long periods in solitary loneliness? Then, like anyone who has been alone and finally gets a chance to speak, we have so much to say to one another.

I come from a long line of storytellers (no smart remarks! LOL!) and I believe firmly in the power of the story to change, educate, and bring us to wholeness. I believe this because it is in the telling of the story that we find healing. It is the basic unit of human communication, this telling of stories. Since the dawn of time, we have gathered together to tell each other stories -- to share experiences, to ward off the darkness.

Tonight, my father is in really into it and he’s telling us the story of “how the solar system was named.” He starts with mercury, mentioning that it’s my planet, me being a Gemini, tells the story of Mercury. He moves to Venus and tells that story, and on and on. They are his stories, to be sure: classical myth, sprinkled with Puerto Rican folklore, but it’s a great story and we laugh and giggle, and hold our breaths in anticipation.

There’s a television in the room, but it is turned off and no one cares, it’s a “Blackout Special” called by our parents. In fact there are no lights on, all electricity has ceased to exist for us and we couldn’t care less, as we sit around the kitchen table, drinking the “Blackout Specials” (scoops of vanilla ice cream floating in orange soda). Tonight everything has been set aside. Beyond our kitchen, modern life can be heard to be happening, but here we are into the story.

When we tell about our pain, fear, or the unmanageable aspects of our lives, we open up to the possibility of being more honest with ourselves. However, some people will tell only parts of their stories because they are looking for validation for their pain. This is not the kind of sharing I am referring to today. That kind of telling is evident in the raunchy type talk shows where sick people, suffering from lack of boundaries, go up in front of a national audience and humiliate themselves.

And we watch and pass judgment…

No, the kind of sharing I am speaking about happens within a truly respectful and spiritual meeting and includes our questions and the incomplete thoughts in our stories as well as the thoughts that are fully completed. The kind of sharing I am talking about is the kind that you tell on yourself for the purpose of creating positive change, not to stay stuck in your pain.

“Blackout Specials” was where I first learned the importance of the story. It became a family tradition, one we passed down to our own children and whom I hope will pass it on to theirs. My father was a consummate storyteller. He could gather all the children on our Lower East Side block in the middle of the summer and have us sit rapt with attention for what seemed like hours. As children, we loved those stories because as children we intuitively know that stories are who we are. It is the basic unit of our only human instinct: language, and as developing persons, we yearn story in the same way we yearn nurturance.

I remember when I first went back to school – in my late thirties -- I was afraid of everything. Mostly I was afraid of making a fool of myself, and I felt out of place because I was much older than the other students were. Because of this, I would not go to certain places at the university, one of them being the cafeteria. One day, as part of psych class assignment, I shared about this fear.

Well, one girl, who was overweight, started sharing about this same fear about going to the cafeteria because she was afraid that people would look at her and judge her for being overweight. As she shared, she began to cry. Then, one after another, other students began to share about their own fears. Eventually we all came to the same conclusions: that we were not alone in our fears (that it wasn't something that “wrong” with us), and that when we looked closely at our fears, they were sometimes a wee bit funny and irrational at some level.

We all went to the cafeteria and laughed about it.

That’s the kind of sharing and telling I am talking about. Some things need to be kept more private and shared only with those we trust deeply. Nevertheless, sharing is important because it is in the telling that we find true healing.

It got to the point when we would call our own “Blackout Specials.” The only rules were that everyone had to tell a story and everyone had to respect each other’s story. When the speaker of the story had the floor, no one could interrupt. The story could be a joke, a story of a found object, an event, whatever. The important part was that we had a sharing space where we would sit and listen to each other, in sacred space – telling our stories to one another. Those times – these Blackout Specials – make up some of the most memorable times of my youth. It is where I learned awe and wonder and learned that I too had a story. That my story was as important anyone else’s story and that I had to tell that story somehow.

Since the dawn of time when our ancestors huddled around the fire to ward off the cold and darkness, we have told stories. Unfortunately, today the ones telling the stories -- the TV news and talk shows, the movies -- don't really give a fuck about sacredness or our health. We need to take back our stories and tell them to each other and pass them on to our children so that we will not lose this precious gift. As we talk, we unburden ourselves and learn from each other about closeness and what it means to be a human being.

Many years later, I’m walking down the street with my own son who was nine years old at the time. He loved stories too and when we would come home from picking him up at school, we had a game we played. The game was that we had to tell the story of something new we learned that day. When my son would run out of school, you could see the anticipation in his eyes as he would ask, “Well, Pops! What did you learn to day?!?!” and I would share my story and he would share his.

In the year my father passed away, we requested that he lead a blackout special. My father was very sick at the time, but there we were, all the brothers and sisters with all his grandchildren –now all veteran Blackout Specials themselves. We all took out turns, telling our story. My son told the story of a scarf he and I found – he created a history for that scarf. We each sat and listened in the glow of Botanica candles.

Then came my father, the legendary storyteller himself – the creator of the Blackout Special -- in all his glory in the rarest of forms telling the greatest story ever. It’s is a moment we all will never forget.

And the story of the story? It wasn’t until many years later, when we became old enough to understand, that we realized how “Blackout Specials” came to be. You see, it was a matter of necessity. We were poor and sometimes my parents had to decide which bill would be paid. Food had a higher priority, so if it was the electric bill or food, food won out. So my parents, in order to lessen our sadness, came up with the idea of the “Blackout Special.” On top of everything else, this taught us the most invaluable lesson of lighting the candle instead of cursing the darkness. My parents put the power of the story in my heart.

May you be able to tell your story always…

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And so it is with us here in the blogosphere: we tell our stories. Our stories of love and heartbreak, of our wishes and hopes. We tell of our gardens, of our victories and defeats, and in that way, we connect somehow in this world going so quickly into madness. We have no time to tell our stories anymore so we come here and cast our lines and we weave a web of stories.

And we listen, read, and tell…

I want to know who you are. I want you to know who I am. I want to hear your stories and I want you to hear mine. Each of us has someone who put the story in our heart. That person can be a teacher or parent, usually an ordinary person who becomes, as author Christina Baldwin says, “extraordinary through the power to touch another life.”

There are very few rules in this storytelling. We can start with these simple ground rules: Mostly that we respect and honor one another’s stories. That we will not share these stories without permission, and that we treat the space of storytelling as something sacred. Also, we’re not looking for technically proficient writing – just tell the fuckin story, no need to be a novelist. We all have stories, I see them around here everyday.

Tell me a story (Adapted from Christian Baldwin’s Storycatcher: Making sense of our lives through the power and Practice of Story):

Take a family heirloom or artifact – a photograph even, and write down its history. Where did it come from? How old is it?

Describe the place where you come from: what is the landscape? Who lives there? Use all your senses to describe the way you remember this place.

Describe one of your earliest memories. Who was with you? Bring in all five senses. Do you know if this an actual memory, or a story you have heard?

Describe your relationship with your grandparents or your elders. How involved in your life were they

What do you know about their own growing up?



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A "Father's" Response

¡Hola! Everybody,
Jumping right into the post today, no foreplay...

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I first began this as a response to a blog Keala linked, but it became too long... the original poster wrote about her father -- the biological father she’s never truly known.

I'm here via a link Keala posted... hope you don’t mind, but I couldn’t resist. Your letter touched in a very personal way, so I am going to respond.

I'm going to respond as a father who didn't even know his son until he was seven years-old. I won't tell you what you need to do. You're a grown and obviously intelligent woman; in your heart, you will find the answer.

What I will tell you is a little about me, and maybe in that way, you might understand your journey a little better. Perhaps this maybe like a letter from a man who might resemble your father, I don't know...

As I stated, I had a son with a woman I didn't care for. In fact, we didn't care much for each other. She wanted to have a child to "calm herself down" but forgot to mention that to me. This is in no way an attempt to rationalize my actions. I am accountable for what I did. Soon after my "partner" of all of one month told me she was pregnant, I freaked out. The last person I wanted to give birth to a child of mine was this woman, but it was her body and her choice.

We fought... a lot. We fought to the point where we couldn’t stand the sight of one another and then one day, out of anger she told me that the child wasn’t mine that she had been with someone else. While I was happy to hear that, a part of me knew it wasn’t true, but it was my out. She had given me the one good reason to leave and I did. I live a crazy life, based on getting and using whatever -- people, places, and things mostly. And so I went on with my life.

Sorry this is so long, but it’s hard to cut off some pieces. My life took a steady downward spiral (as did hers) and eventually I had to leave the City because some people who took exception of my separating them from their money were looking for me. I left to go down south and a year or so passed. One day, a mutual friend called to tell me that my former lover was walking around with a baby that looked just like me: blue eyes, same smile, same everything. Furthermore, she had gotten married to some civilian (what I called:”straight” people) and was saying the kid was his. My friend had known me all my life, knew my family and he tells me, “Eddie, that kid is a Rosario if I ever saw one, you better come up here and see what’s going on.”

That’s how I found out I was a father.

I went back up north and the first time I saw her with my son, she was, like, shocked. I was never cruel, nor mean, nor “bad-assed” or anything like that, but I was known for my intelligence and for not brooking any shit. We went back and forth with the power struggles and I finally got to see my infant son for the first time. It was weird because I don’t know what I was expecting, but, like, no angels sang, there was no epiphany, no shining light, just this snot-nosed kid who had just taken a dump and stunk to high heaven. What did freak me out was that the little ma’fucca did look just like me. It was weird, like looking in a mirror. I know this sounds fucked up but it’s how I felt.

My “solution” was to make his moms like me again and take away all of us down south and start a new life. I managed to seduce her (or she me, I forget which) and we had this passionate love affair (again), but when it came time to pull the trigger on my “plan” she reneged and then her husband discovered our affair.

We, she and I, were both still using, still going downhill really fast and I guess a part of her realized that her husband would offer her more stability. Her husband actually called me to threaten my life, saying shit like, “I know where you live, watch your back blah blah blah... ” My response to that was to go to his front door, drag him outside of his house and kick his ass. I believe he lost a tooth, not sure.

His response was to call the cops on me. But I was so skinny, the cops laughed. They couldn’t believe someone standing at 5’7” and weighing about 125 lbs could’ve caused that kind of damage. And to tell you the truth, I didn’t even go full fury on him because it was a mismatch.

I digress, but all this is connected, trust me. He tried to sue me, but when we went to mediation, I told the mediator and him to go fuck themselves, but I also signed a statement stating that I would keep some yards away from both my son and his mother.

On his birth certificate, I don’t appear as the father and my son does not carry my last name.

I walked away from all that went on my way. Living the life I knew, but hating the fact that I walked away from my son. I felt shitty about that. I felt like less of a man -- everyday. And everyday, failure as a father was one of the things I used to push a needle into my arm. Because I felt worthless and not being a good father only confirmed my feelings of worthlessness.

This isn’t an excuse, merely stating a fact of my state of mind.

Flash forward about seven years. Through those years, I lived between The South and NYC, at various rehabs, jails and prisons, and I erased my son’s mother from my mind. I thought of my son only in those times when I wanted to feel like shit, which was often. I had heard her husband became a crack addict, in the process losing his job and his wife. They separated a few months after our affair, and while he would see my son occasionally, he became an addict, just like me. I take no pleasure in that fact. I wouldn’t wish the disease of addiction on my worst enemy.

Eventually, I would come to experience a series of events that I call my “spiritual awakening.” No, I wasn’t born again, one time being born is fine with me. I was in the process of picking up the pieces of my fractured life, and always in the back of my mind, I knew I had a son out there somewhere. A good friend once told me that what I needed to do was to focus on becoming a better person a day at a time because when I least expected it, my son would come into my life. Which I thought was a bunch of bullshit.

But that’s how it happened. I got a phone call late one night telling me that my son’s mother was about to die. She was dying from the very disease I was able to arrest and from complications of the AIDS virus. I’ve written about that experience before, though not many know the full context of the story. I won’t rehash that part here, for this blog has gone on long enough. Suffice it to say that I met my son again when he was seven years-old and most in need of my presence.

When his mother passed, he clung to me as if I were the only person alive. I guess even at his age, he sensed I was his only true biological connection. By a series of really weird events, I became my son’s primary care-giver for the next seven years of more, I don’t remember exactly how long, who keeps track of things like that. And I wish I could say I was the greatest thing since canned coke, but I can’t. as a father, I had a lot of shortcomings, but I like to think that when I gave to my son, I gave as best as I could for a s long as I could. And I don’t even know if I can say that, but I tried...

If you’re still reading this, you might be asking why I would share such a story, and what the heck does it have to do with your post! But if you’re still here then you will know the answer. You see, today my son and I are not as close as I would like us to be. We’ve had “issues” and for his part, I think the feels the less he has to do with me, the better. And please, I will delete any comments offering sympathy; I’m not looking for that here. I am writing this because I think the answer to your question lies in what I feel toward my estranged son. Here it is simply put: we must reconcile because it is for his own good. Not because I want to feel fulfilled as a father or some other such nonsense, but because as along as he has lost me, he will be incomplete. He must find that father, as you must find yours, because without that part, he will be missing a part of himself. Without this resolution, a part of him will be forever closed to him. But as in your case, this is a decision he must make for himself. As for my part? It’s my job to let him know that that door is always open whenever he wants to walk through that door, but I can’t make him walk through -- that’s his decision.

And I think that’s what you’re really asking. You’re asking if you should to open that closed door to the deepest part of your heart. You’re asking if you should follow that impulse and I can’t tell you that, but I can say that until you find some resolution, your father’s shadow will always loom large.

With Much Love,


Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Madness (The Marriage Myth)

¡Hola! Everybody, Hope everybody is well with the start of the work week because if you ain’t you’re in for a fucked up week! LOL

Man! Am I gonna get ripped for today's post! ::runs::

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-=[ The Marriage Myth ]=-

Everywhere we look we’re being told that the institution of traditional marriage is in a state of crisis!

There’s a bit of a misstatement in that sentence. And it’s not that marriage is in crisis. It’s that the institution of marriage isn’t, nor has it ever been, traditional. Human unions have gone through a number of transformations. We would be wrong to assume that it was ever a stable institution. On the contrary, marriage has always been in flux. It has only been based on the concept of love for 200 years; before that, it was a way of ensuring economic and political stability. Historian Stephanie Coontz points out that since hunter-gatherer days to the modern era, “almost every marital and sexual arrangement we have seen in recent years, however startling it may appear, has been tried somewhere before.” So when we think of cohabitation, gay marriage, or stepfamilies as deviating from the so-called “norm,” we are wrong, because there has never really been a “norm.”

This should be a wake-up call for a country obsessed with the perfect image of the nuclear family -- mother, father and two kids. In fact, the nuclear family, as espoused by religious fanatics and “born agains,” is actually a downsized version of the closest we can say a family represented. Today’s family is a fragmented version imposed by the exploitive effects of the industrial revolution.

We are trying to force ourselves to be something we never really were, or were for a very brief period of time. Instead, we need to be more tolerant of and open to different forms of union. People with traditional “family values” lack the skills to adapt to social realities that have changed marriage, such as the increased independence of women.

I would agree that many of our familial woes come from an unrealistic, idealized version of marriage. Forever after is a perfect ideal in an imperfect world. I think advocating for a more liberal interpretation of marriage would help. What I am stating here isn’t new, many have had this idea before, and centuries-long historical documentation confirms it.

Coontz’s basic thesis is that what we think of as the traditional marriage -- marriage based on love -- was not the purpose of marriage for thousands of years. Instead, marriage was about acquiring in-laws, jockeying for political and economic advantage, and building the family labor force. If you were a farmer, you had children in order to increase the workforce, for example. Admittedly not very romantic, but very pragmatic. It was only 200 years ago that people began to believe that young people could choose their own mates, and should choose their own mates on the basis of something like love, which had formerly been considered a threat to marriage. As soon as people began to do that, all of the demands that we now think of as radical new demands -- from the demand for divorce, to the right to refuse a shotgun marriage, to even recognition of same-sex relations -- were immediately raised.

But it was not until the last 30 years that people began to actually act on the new ideals for beloved marriage. Social conservatives say that there has been a crisis in the last 30 years, and I agree with them, that marriage has been tremendously weakened as an institution. Where I disagree with them is whether this is such a bad thing. What is clear is that marriage has lost its monopoly over organizing sexuality, male-female relations, political, social, and economic rights. I agree that this shift poses tremendous challenges to us, but I disagree with the idea that one could make marriage better by trying to shoehorn everyone back into the older forms of marriage. We need newer, more relevant metaphors to live by because the main things that have weakened marriage as an institution are the same things that have strengthened marriage as a relationship.

Marriage is now more optional, because for the first time ever, men and women have equal rights in marriage and outside it. Women have economic independence. This means that you can negotiate a marriage, and make it more flexible and individualized than ever before. So a marriage when it works is better for people, it’s fairer, it’s more satisfying, it’s more loving and fulfilling than ever before in history.

The contradiction is that the same things that make it so are the things that allow people not to marry, or to leave a marriage that they find unsatisfying. I would agree with those that say you can’t have one without the other. Therefore, we need to learn to deal with the alternatives to marriage. Alternatives to marriage being singlehood, cohabitation, divorce, and stepfamilies -- and all of these kinds of alternatives to marriage that have arisen.

What we need to be doing is not necessarily strengthening the union of marriage as it’s been known for years, but adapting better to new forms of marriage.

With every evolutionary leap, there are opportunities and crises. The industrial revolution opened up new opportunities for many people, but it also created havoc in some peoples’ lives. But the point is that there was no way to go back to turn everyone into self-sufficient farmers. So we had to reform the factories, and we had to deal with the reality we faced. I say that it is the same with marriage. There is no way to force men and women to get married and stay married. There is no way to force women to make the kinds of accommodations they used to make, to enter a shotgun marriage, or to stay in a marriage they find unsatisfying. we have to learn to adapt to both the opportunities and the problems that raises for us.

It’s a fact that evangelical Christians are just as likely to remain single or divorce as atheists. And this is just one demonstration that this is in fact an irreversible revolution in personal life on the same order as the industrial revolution. It doesn’t matter what your values are. Everyone is affected by this. Even people who want or think they are in a traditional marriage are not exempt from these changes. So that the divorce rates of evangelical Christians are the same as those of agnostics and atheists. And in fact, the highest divorce rates in the country are found in the Bible Belt. People who believe that sex outside of marriage is immoral, tend to get married early. And in today’s world, that is a risk factor for divorce. So that’s one of the reasons that they tend to divorce more. We are experiencing a revolutionary change in the way that marriage operates, and the dynamics of marriage. It’s so much more important now to meet as equals, to be good friends as well as lovers, to have values that allow you to change through your life and negotiate. And a lot of people with so-called traditional values in fact don’t have those skills.

I think we can start from the beginning, acknowledging that people need support systems. We live in a very unfriendly environment for families. Ironically, it’s the social conservatives -- the same who like to spout empty speeches about “traditional family values -- who are least friendly to families. they opposse, for example, many policies that help married couples. if they’re going to keep their marriages going, couples need things like parental leave, subsidized parental leave so it’s not a class privilege to take some time with your kids. They need family-friendly work policies. They need high quality, affordable child-care. So that they don’t have to call in sick or quit a job or spend hours agonizing about their kids.

The lack of these social supports for families really stresses families. So it’s very ironic that many of the people who claim to be most in favor of marriage do not spend any time building these support systems.




Coontz, S. (2005). Marriage, a history: From obedience to intimacy, or how love conquered marriage. New York: Viking.

Click here to go to Stephanie Coontz’ website, which offers dozens of articles by the author.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Sermon (Karma and Evolution)

¡Hola! Everybody,
I went to see Vantage Point yesterday and was disappointed. I might post a more detailed review on multiply, but suffice it to say that the film is an example of great actors (!), and a good idea, gone to waste. The sad part is that I’m sitting there going this could be so much better...

* * *

-=[ Karma, Reincarnation, and Evolution ]=-

When the historical Buddha asked us to examine our relationship to the elements as a path to the realization to the awareness that our body has no separate, independent existence, he was encouraging us to become scientists of the self. His instructions were based in part on one of his era’s principles known as the law of karma.

In Sanskrit, the word karma means “to do” or “to make,” and refers to the fact that every action is followed by consequences. As I have written before, in common modern usage karma has been corrupted to mean “payback” and has become synonymous with retribution. This is a faulty and misinformed concept of karma.

The Hindu law of karma, which was current when the Buddha lived, was concerned mostly with an individual’s actions in the world, and how the consequences of those actions would affect that person’s destiny, even in future lives. For example, if one person hurts another, that sets up whole series of events that ends in the first person experiencing pain. People today like to say, “Everything that goes around, comes around.” ::sigh::

The Buddha added a completely new dimension to this law by emphasizing that karma is also a psychological conditioning process that operates in this very life. He recognized that our thoughts as well as our actions have consequences and that those consequences take place in our own mind.

The Buddha advised us not to try to tease out all the specifics of the entanglement of our karma, saying it was imponderable. We could never isolate or measure all of the events and processes that have produced this particular here and now. What is important is to see the fact that nothing arises independent of causes and conditions. Equally important is that we become aware how unwholesome states such as hatred and greed create suffering. What happens when we do this is that we begin to see ourselves and each moment as embedded within all of creation.

It has nothing to do with other people getting their "payback."

All of this got me thinking (always a dangerous thing) yesterday and I came upon a series of photographs of the development of the human fetus. I was taken immediately at how it seems as if the development is a reflection of our evolutionary history.

Note: for the religious quacks that refuse to be convinced of evolution, please tell me you don’t believe the next time a vaccine created through the science of evolution saves your whacked out ass.

Looking at these photos, I came away thinking that the scientific story of evolution can offer a new angle on the idea of reincarnation. Life itself seems to reincarnate in form after form, with new forms of locomotion, perception, or types of consciousness. In fact, the human condition can be seen as our shared incarnation, part of common “evolutionary karma.”

Evolutionary science is even showing us some of the faces of our previous shared past. You can see, twitching away on a Petri dish, a living example of past life as a single-celled organism. In a water-breathing fish, you can imagine a version of yourself in a previous life, swimming through the single ocean that once covered the earth. You can perhaps more easily recognize yourself as a great ape, or as a Homo Habilis in the Stone Age.

But what struck me was that our shared lives could be even more easily recognized by looking at individual development in the womb. Think about it: within a nine-month period we develop from a single cell to a complex mammal, keeping the adaptations we might need and discarding those that are unnecessary, such as gills, and downsizing others, such as the acute olfactory region of the brain, since smell is no longer as essential to our survival as humans.

In the book, What Is Life? Dorion Sagan and Lynn Margulis put forward the depth of our inheritance: “We share more than 98 percent of our genes with chimpanzees, sweat fluids reminiscent of seawater, and crave sugar that provided our ancestors with energy three billion years before the first space station had evolved. We carry our past with us”

The notion that we have previous lives in the evolutionary past can extend beyond biology, into the realm of elemental forces and cycles. After all, the entire earth was once a cloud of gas, and later cooling into a molten mass. Were we not part of those too? The Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh wrote in The Heart of Understanding, “As I look more deeply, I can see that in a former life I was a cloud. And I was a rock. This is not poetry; it is science. This is not a question of a belief in reincarnation. This is the history of life on earth.”

The concept of life evolving is not foreign to Buddhism, whether it be told in legends of reincarnation, or as the interconnection of all things in the universe. And perhaps most importantly it is expressed through the core belief in the possibility of transformation in this very life.



Friday, February 22, 2008

[un]Common Sense Sex Blog (The Big Show)

¡Hola! Everybody,
Just so everyone is clear: I’m wearing underwear! New ones! LOL But I realized a little while ago, I put my undies backwards today.

Got up this morning and because I still haven’t connected the cable, I’m not watching TV which means I have no clue as to the weather. But shit, it’s winter right? It’s fuckin cold, period. I didn’t realize it snowed during the night until I stepped outside. I’m meeting with a state senator later today, so I have dress shoes on. Yuck...

I want to thank my dear friend, a former lover, for allowing me to use her photo and part of our story for today's blog. She read it in advance and actually enjoyed it (helped me edit some of it) -- thought it was important to share. She doesn't live in the US, but we had an intense, loving affair one summer a few years back...

* * *

-=[ The Big Show ]=-
“... I feel like a storm, like the ocean, the waves... I want to fuck everything into my womb. A woman suffers not giving her love. To be fully satisfied, she must absolutely live in the depth of her love.”
-- Jennifer Garcia

She’s beyond beautiful, she’s feminine sexuality itself, but throughout all our sexing, there’s always this holding back. Sure, she does everything to please me: she happily goes doggy-style and lets me penetrate her deeply and she revels in my deep thrusts, looking back over her shoulder and urging me on, thrusting back herself. She takes me into her mouth to the point where her gag reflex kicks in and even swallowed my sperm -- all for my pleasure. But somewhere inside, this is all something dirty and she’s afraid to be a slut for me because some part of her is ashamed.

I want her to show me, to tell me what she wants. I want to know her -- the real her. I want her to grind her cunt against my face and take her pleasure, but it’s been a gradual process. Little by little we talk, communicating openly, talking about what we like and what we want and who we are and she begins to open. At first, it’s just a little bit -- like when she looks into my eyes while we’re fucking. Or when she squeezes the opening to my cock and smells it, or licks at my pre cum greedily -- all things she was ashamed of doing before.

She opens slowly like a beautiful flower and I wait patiently for the day when the floodgates open. She tells me she’s never met a man who was so curious and interested in her sex and at first it frightened her, but she enjoys the openness, the permission to be what we want.

One day, while I’m fucking her brutally from behind, she pleads for me to stop. She throws me on my back and tells me, “It’s my turn,” and proceeds to ride my cock in the way that brings her most pleasure -- on top of me, facing me and all I ask is that she stays in the moment with me, looking into my eyes. I lay back, a passive tool to her aggressive grasp for pleasure, and she takes the reins of our sexing and rides me for all she’s worth, not caring, throwing caution to the wind. Her pussy is sopping wet and I feel her moistness. She scrapes her fingers against my chest. Eventually, she takes me on waves of bliss until she comes in violent bursts, her petite taut body trembling, pulsing, and I can feel the walls of her vagina vibrate, exquisitely wrapping my cock in a tender and tight moist cocoon...

All sex, in fact all life, is about the meeting of masculine and feminine energy -- the yin/ yang of life. I envision masculine energy as consciousness and feminine essence as light. This does not mean that men always represent the masculine, or that women always hold feminine energy. What it means is that sexual union is always about a conscious (masculine) presence penetrating a yielding, loving surrender. With some couples, one partner holds more masculine energy, and the other holds more feminine. Some more sexually conscious couples will alternate who is the leading, masculine polarity and who is the feminine yielding polarity. This has very little to do with physical positions and more to do with attitude -- disposition.

As soon as a woman becomes more assertive, initiating, and penetrating with her presence, and as soon as a man relaxes, waits, becomes soft and vulnerable the sexual polarities have been reversed. This can be a great thing to practice intentionally, to experience more deeply the opposite sexual essence. For a couple that has learned to polarize and merge, sex changes from merely a personal act for intensifying pleasure into something quite different. Orgasm is a glorified sneeze when compared to the potential that arises once we step out of the box of rubbing genitals to release pressure or to connect.

When partners are willing to manipulate and cultivate sexual energy, they both arrive to a sexual meeting of fullness. The man has not only realized himself as empty consciousness, but he has also brought that realization down into his body. The woman has not only experienced love and connection, but she has also practiced opening so much that she radiates love itself, from her whole body. She actually becomes the body of the divine feminine: the supreme strength of absolute surrender.

This is not a matter of imitating or acting out in a certain way, but relaxing into your natural essence. This takes no effort at all, only conscious practice. In this form of sexing, the couple isn’t meeting in order to get something from each other. They are not meeting to get off on waves of physical pleasure. They are not even meeting to love each other in a personal way. Sex in this context is being offered at the altar of spirituality itself.

This is why I pray... LOL

This form of sexual union is the “human replication of the union of consciousness and light.” This union can occur within an individual and in our hypermasculine world, this was as good as it got. People became unified within themselves and presented themselves to the world without gender. But the sexing I’m speaking to here is quite different. When we consciously choose to embody the union of consciousness and light, both partners are allowing a gift that is universal, rather than personal. When a man and a woman sex in this way, the two offerings become a full circle, and there is a unification of consciousness and light, of yin and yang, something much greater than could ever occur within an individual. The masculine gives the feminine a deep trustworthy consciousness presence, through one’s body, and the feminine essence gives the masculine deep love and light. In that way, the boundaries finally break and they pour into one another.

Man, freed by the realizations that, no matter what, he can still fully give of himself is no longer afraid to open into life and finds the union of consciousness and form. Woman, finally freed of her longing to be fully penetrated by God, allows a fuller love to move through her. She realizes, in the unconditional giving, that her world is already fully penetrated by the divine consciousness all the time, and always has been. In a way, she becomes the Divine Goddess, the feminine principle itself, open in radiant love. By consciously surrendering to the masculine principle, she is transported beyond her longing to be loved into being love itself.



Thursday, February 21, 2008

Relationship Addiction

¡Hola Everybody,
Long day for me today and tomorrow. Today I run my day women’s prison workshop and my men’s evening group, which has been growing, btw. My men’s group is part of something I do on my own and at first I wasn’t even charging. Eventually, it grew and I charge a nominal fee – no more than $20-25 per session. Some pay less. Last week, there were fifteen men in the group. I would like to tell the ladies that all those books about how men don’t “communicate” or aren’t “in touch” with their feelings, seem to be full of shit.
I’m of the opinion that most women (and men) are emotionally illiterate – they just express that illiteracy in different ways…

Some of what follows will be in use today, folks.

* * *

Relationship Addiction

Some of this has some scary implications especially for online relationships…

When I first came into recovery, there was a humorous catch phrase about addicts recovering from the “waist down.” This was a reference to the tendency of addicts acting out in different ways. And it is often true that if you put down one addiction, another one pops up somewhere. I was fortunate in that I had a really good guide in my early recovery and he helped me see clearly that addiction wasn’t about a substance, but a process.

Those who have my 12-step posts, already now that the First Step talks about being powerless over our addiction. It doesn’t say alcohol, sex, heroin – it says addiction.

So it makes sense that if you’re not addressing the core issue of addiction, you’re going to act out in other ways, relationships being a very easy and seductive lure. I’ve seen people addicted to God, religion, dogma, and money – almost anything under the sun. By far, the biggest issues in the rooms of recovery were relationships. People were coming to and realizing that their relationship patterns were intimately tied to their addictive process. I certainly needed no coaching with regard to my manner of relating. It was easy for me to look back at the wreckage of my past relationships and see that I didn’t know jack ma’fuccin shit. LOL!

The first time I mainlined heroin, my dick got hard and from then on it was clear that hand-in-hand with drugs, my story involved a series of dysfunctional relationships with women. Drugs and women: the getting and using (and being used by) both. I never thought of myself as a relationship addict, nor do I now, looking back. But I do think I can become one very easily. I also believe that relationship addiction is a huge problem in our society because it is widespread and because very few people acknowledge it.

There are basically two types of relationship addiction. In the first, the person is addicted to having a relationship (we’ll call it Type I). It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship – real or imagined. In the second, the person is addicted to a particularparticular person (we’ll that Type II). In the first type, the person is addicted to the idea, and in the latter, the person is hooked to the person. relationship with a

A Type I relationship addict is someone who is addicted to the concept of relationship. I once heard someone share that relationship addicts don’t relationships, they take hostages. LOL! They relate to their idea of a relationship, and the reality of the other person is irrelevant. Both types are willing to sacrifice almost anything in order to hold on to the illusion of being in a relationship. In fact, in Type I relationship addiction the illusion itself is what provides the fix. For relationship addicts the fantasy of belief that they have a relationship is the mood-altering drug. The obsession is with the relationship, not with the person. The accepted model of the cycle of addiction holds true for relationship addicts:

Preoccupation: an obsession with a relationship, which has a mood-altering quality to it, and a total absorption in the relationship.

Ritualization: engaging in behaviors that are related to “keeping a relationship” such as losing weight, becoming more attractive with a new hairstyle or wardrobe. Also, ritualized “courting” behavior may be included.

Compulsive Relationship Behavior: Establishing a behavior as soon as possible, discussing and/ or doing “marriage” from zero to sixty or trying in other ways to nail down the relationship and then holding on to dear life.

Despair: the awareness that the “fix” is not working and feeling hopeless and powerless in the face of that awareness.

Type I relationship addicts want a relationship. In the diseased thinking, they have little concern for who or what the person is. They just want someone. They do not perceive a relationship as an evolving process; they don’t check to see things like values and goals match. They just “go for it.” (Gawd! That one hit too close to home! LOL)

The thing is that relationship addicts are great cons. They have formed skills based on their obsession -- creating dysfunctional relationships.

Both types of relationship addicts often have developed skills in the areas of listening, sharing feelings (though not real ones), “being there” and paying attention that are quite seductive. In fact, because of these skills, relationship addicts are hard to detect (by themselves and others). Relationship addicts have absorbed all the how-to relationship books that flood the market and have probably practiced all the exercises devotedly, becoming experts in the techniques of relationship. Most importantly, relationship addicts use what could be called the “openness” con. They use skills that appear to develop a relationship for manipulation and control. They seem to do the ‘right” thing in relationships. Both types of relationship addicts know and practice social interaction skills but don’t know how to be friends and establish genuine intimacy. In fact, they fear intimacy and are happier with the illusion of intimacy.

Both types of relationship addicts are absolutely terrified of being alone, and when no one else is around, they actually believe they are alone. That’s why they move constantly from one relationship to another. They never take the time to grieve the termination of a relationship and in that way they bring all the baggage of their previous relationship into a new one.

Relationship addicts lie to themselves and others and are controlling in nature. They will lie to themselves and others about the sacrifices they make in order to stay in a relationship and they believe they can make a relationship work through sheer force of will. They will make another person love through this tenacity and they become increasingly more controlling, blaming, and defensive the more you love them.

Men who are relationship addicts believe that they cannot survive without a woman, and women relationship addicts believe they cannot exist without a man (the same holds true for gay relationship addicts). Persons suffering from this addiction look to the relationship to validate them. They have no concept of establishing an identity on their own, hence they suffer from lack of boundaries.

Relationship addicts are molded by popular culture. For example, taking their cue from popular songs, they believe that suffering and love are connected. They go together – if you’re not suffering then you’re not in love.

I believe religious institutions and society have a big role in the creation of relationship addiction. Both hold that normal people are in relationships. And much of our society and moral structures are predicated on that assumption. In the church, with its sexual obsession, does not consider people normal until they are coupled. Single persons are a threat to the church community, which revolves around couples and families.

It’s the same within the larger social context. During their development, children are bombarded with popular music and films/ videos that push addictive relationships. In the lyrics they learn they are nothing without a relationship, that relationships move from one crisis to another, and that to be in a relationship means to suffer.

The effects of relationship addiction on our society hasn’t been measured, but it’s just as destructive (if not more) than any substance abuse and probably a lot more widespread. Which makes me wonder the transformation that would occur if whole groups of people began questioning the status quo of church, society, and popular culture and began recovering from relationship addiction.



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Beyond Help Series (Mindfulness)

¡Hola! Everybody,
I called the laundry yesterday and apparently, the woman who mistakenly took my laundry has tired of sniffing my underwear and will return it today. The Laundromat is located about a 2-hour drive from where I’m living now, so I’ll have to wait to pick up all
my underwear. And yes, I am wearing underwear today. I had to buy new undies last night.

Today is my friend Jackie’s birthday! Jackie is a sweet girl who always has something nice to say. Plus she’s got a nice ass too! LOL Don’t get on her bad side, though, cause she’ll rip ya a new one! But she’s really a nice person in the most essential meaning of that phrase. I’m glad to know her and call her a friend. Click here and wish her a happy. Jackie, you deserve the best and though I know you won’t be online today, I want to wish the happiest of birthdays.


* * *

-=[ Mindfulness ]=-

Some of you may have noticed that I’m writing this series on Wednesdays. A lot of this helps me in clarifying my approach to mental health practice, but I think there’s something here for anyone interested in a non-traditional approach to better living. I started with the notion that suffering, contrary to the TV ads, is normal. I say that suffering is quite normal. In fact, to live is to know suffering to paraphrase a great human being who lived over 2,500 years ago. But I also differentiated between pain and suffering and that suffering is optional. I defined suffering in this way:

pain + stress = suffering

In other words, pain happens, it’s a fact of life, but it’s also a fact that what you bring to the situation dictates whether you will suffer. This is in actuality a profound realization. You have pain in your knee, for example, and what happens in your brain immediately? Your brain waves go crazy, neurons fire off all over the place, and everything around the pain area contracts. So on top of the very real pain in your knee, you’ve now added mental and physical contraction.


Secondly, I wrote of acceptance. The point being that if you stop running from painful experiences or attaching to pleasurable ones, you will find a profound serenity. Acceptance, in this context, doesn’t mean being passive, but using the realization that shit happens and being proactive about adapting to that shit instead of fighting the fucking war all the time. The War has taken a toll on your life. This ongoing war you have with reality has destroyed your self-esteem, made you miserable, and full of self-loathing. Yeah sure, you’ve built a fortress around your heart so no one can hurt you but you walk the desolate landscape looking for love in all the wrong people, places, and things. And in the end what has this war wrought? Numbness.


There are two more components, mindfulness, and commitment. Today I will go on a little on mindfulness, an ancient and much misunderstood term.

Basically, mindfulness is an ancient 2,500-year-old method of observing your experience. It has been practiced for centuries through various forms of meditation in the East. Recent western research has proven that practicing mindfulness has notable psychological benefits. In fact, it has been adopted to treat anxiety, depression, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and a host of other ailments.

My approach to psycho-spiritual work has a lot to do with mindfulness. However, I also bring modern western cognitive psychology in conjunction with mindfulness. My view is that eastern practices address higher level functioning, what some call the transpersonal, while Western psychology is devoted almost exclusively to ego development, or the personal. Using both approaches, one can address a wider range of issues in a more holistic manner.

My aim when working with people is to help them learn how to see their thoughts in a new way. Thoughts are like filters through which we see the world. We all have a tendency to cling to our particular way of seeing things and we allow it to dictate how we interpret our experiences, even to the point of dictating who we think we are. If you’re now stuck in the lens of your psychological pain, you may say things to yourself like, “I’m depressed,” or “I’m a loser, a failure.” I try to help people see the dangers of holding such thoughts and provide people with the tools that help them avoid those dangers.

As you free yourself from the illusions of language, you will begin to become more aware

server reboot, to be finished later!


[un]Common Sense