Tinder, you devil
How you make or break my days
Maybe the next one…
Tinder, you devil
How you make or break my days
Maybe the next one…
It has been challenging for me to surrender into my pleasure lately, as I know it has been for many. It has been hard to find inspiration to write. How do I find peace in my heart, at the dawn of a new cycle of hatred in the world? One answer keeps coming to me: love. Humility like never before. In this moment of history, pleasure and love are acts of resistance. In every touch, in every sigh, in every orgasm. I am listening more carefully – what more can I learn in order to live in a good way? I am offering my gifts – trusting my gifts. I am committing – that I am an ally, a friend, a lover. Believing I am the change. I am calling on myself to step up, to find the leader and the lover within. I am enough.
Yesterday I read an impassioned and wise plea that we all take time, right now, to write. Remind ourselves of our core values and dreams. What are we willing to let happen? What are our boundaries? Because a systematic attempt is about to be made to change who we are and what we are willing to stand for. We won’t even feel it happening. So today, we write down who we are now, so that next year, or five years from now, we can read about that person and check in to see if we are still that person. And behave as if we are still that person. Do not let them strip away our courage, our values, our beliefs.
Love is the movement. Fierce. Fucking. Love.
I walked the “Freedom Trail” in Boston yesterday. At the Holocaust Memorial, I read this:
I am walking down a street in a busy city in America. This particular street is known by some as the “methodone mile”. As you can imagine, this name reflects the nature of those who spend time here. As I walk, I find myself facing person, after person, after person, disheveled, underweight, broken down, deep lines etched into faces that appear in permanent sadness or anger or despare, warn-out fabrics falling upon boney shoulders and hips.
I want so deeply to lock eyes with each and every one of them, hoping that through my eyes they might see my compassion, my empathy, my love. I wish that, just for a moment, they could tap into the sensation of oneness and know that they are enough, vital, important, loved. At the same time, I feel so out of place here, too clean, too healthy, too young, too energetic, too purposeful, too ‘part of the system’. I have no idea what they see in me, and I feel shameful at how privelaged my life is and how unjust the world can be.
I know many people who use substances recreationally. Some who have used the same substances as these withering people before me. And for those friends of mine, they remain: clean, healthy, energized, purposeful, educated, high functioning, happy. In fact many of them would swear their lives are infinitely better on account of some of the psychedelics and other ‘medicines’ they have explored.
I can only imagine a major reason for the difference is the dose-response curve. If you don’t take any, or don’t take ‘enough’, perhaps your life remains understimulating and personal growth is limited. Experiment, dabble, develop a relationship with these substances: perhaps you find the ‘sweet spot’ where the world opens up and you find bliss beyond your wildest dreams. So one’s good, two’s better, right? Take more, more, and more: eventually, you get to a place that you didn’t expect, eventually the rollercoaster starts taking a dive. For some, we don’t have the ability/skills/awareness/desire/drive to go to that edge, recognize it, and back away. For some, we dive in with reckless abandon, at first enjoying the thrll of the ride. But eventually we might realize that our relationship with the substance is no longer healthy, our lives are no longer joyful and we may no longer be in control. And sometimes we go so far, that the damage caused is not reversible.
To me, hedonism fits this same bell curve, and substances fall within the class of hedonic experiences.
They way I define hedonism, is I seek out experiences that bring me pleasure. Pleasure can be of any sensuous nature (pertaining to any sense), and sexual energy lies within the spectrum of sensuous experiences.
Therefore, like substances, if something brings me pleasure, I lean into that pleasure. If something helps my life feel good and joyful and connected and loving, I receive it!
Of course, truth be told, I don’t always receive it. Sometimes I outright avoid it. Why is that? Do we each have our own ‘methodone mile’?
On this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I find myself about an hour’s drive from Plymouth Rock. I don’t know much of the history, but from what I can find, this land was looked after for thousands of years by the Massachuset peoples, whose language was part of the Algonquin language family. There were about 3000 of them in 1614 when John Smith visited. By 1620 when the Pilgrims arrived, their numbers were already down by at least 3/4 due to a combination of illness brought from overseas (leptospirosis and small pox) combined with war from northeastern tribes. By the time the Puritans settled in Boston in 1629 there were only 500 Massachuset left. No organized tribes of Massachuset are known to have survived past 1800. In 1869 the state of Massachusetts unconstitutionally terminated the status of the Massachuset as a sovereign nation (by then it appears to me that these people were a mixture of many tribes who were amalgamated and moved around as part of John Eliot’s missionary work). Today there remains only one tribe that is recognized federally in Massachusetts, they are the Wampanoag peoples who live in the areas now known as Gay Head and Martha’s Vineyard. However I can find dozens of names of Tribes who once lived here.
What I perhaps find most tragic in all of this is that I have asked a few very lovely people around here why I haven’t seen any indigenous people in the Boston area. The answer I get, is “I don’t really know”.
So as the winds from the edges of Hurricane Matthew howl tonight and the rain pours down upon us, my prayer is that human beings everywhere find the courage in their hearts to listen a little more carefully, make decisions a little more humbly, accept our shortcomings a little more gracefully, and to tread a little more lightly. May all beings know love. May all beings know safety. May all beings know peace.
I found this carefully folded and tied with a bow on the ground in a dome at the burn this year. It brought tears when I opened it – finally, two days ago – and shared it with my beloved. Thank you, whoever wrote this:
May I burn the man at home this year
May I finally become a full participant
May I kick the consumption habit cold turkey
And get on with resonating funky genius
And vulnerable enthusiasm
On my own channel, 24/7
May I see every public space as center camp
And roll around on the ground with strangers
Lovingly and with worshipful presence
As we connect one-in-other
May I strut my feathers and leathers
And muppet cape
And naked benevolent childish soul
Everywhere I go
Feeling fully in character
May I trick out my apartment like a theme camp
And invite people in off the streetand lavish them with exorbitant gifts
Of presence and affection lovingly prepared
Because I can
Because I am rich and overflowing
And giving is why I am here
May I share shattering rock-bottom truths
With everyone, as casually as tea
Like old lovers with nothing left to prove or improve upon
In the utter safety of the silky oscillation
Between me and we
May I strip the locks off my heart
And hold open house
With everyone I meet on the bus
In line for groceries or at the gas station
Granting them the hallucinated embellishment
Of fur, goggles, nudity and dust
And allowing myself full excitement
And wonder at who they might be
May I look past the surface
And see into everyone
Recognizing pirates and alien ambassadors
Superheroes and translucent mermaids
May I cal my campmates
Or show up at their houses
As easily and shamelessly
As I might wander up to their tents
And never need a reason
For pressing my nose on their cheek
Or for flopping on the couch and snuggling
May I love fully, fluidly
Everyone who pulls me deeper into living
And put away any residual shame
About how my love looks
Remembering: we’re in the desert!
Remembering: we’re dusty and unkempt and beautiful
Remembering: we’re mad ones and saints and divas all
And there is no expectation of tidiness
Remembering: there will be grit and friction
There always is
But in the cathartic blessing
Of our meeting and self-discovery
No one notices
Remembering most of all
That my emotional nudity is my ticket to the event
Past the gate and greeters
To unity and a friendly universe
And is always honored and gratefully received
May I hallucinate freely
Seeing Volvos as mobile cupcakes
May I notice the installations
Of genius and wild vision
All about me
May I see the dreams made real
In my daily built world
May I touch the round belly
Of the pregnant possible
With both my hands
May I witness those around me
Strutting their beauty and hope
Their frailty and unfinishedness
And may I yell out my approval, and applaud
May I witness the gifting that happens
In the grade of glances, smiles and kind words
That are as quenching and comforting
In this daily wasteland of formality and alienation
As popsicles and mist baths ever were
May I burn the man every day
May I take his idealized ass down
May I take the icon of who I am supposed to be
And gently release her to flame
May I take their her habits, opinions, head noise
Timidity, and ego-protective oarrogance
Lovingly douse them with gas
This is my religion
Humbly, devotedly and persistently performed
THAT MAN will BURN.
May I build the Temple every morning
And honor and celebrate
Those who have sung the song of my life
Who have held my life
Like their own dear infant in their arms
May I build the Temple every morning
Be awestruck by its beauty every day
As I smear it with prayers & tears
And then at dusk
Release it in holy smoke
May I smell it burn
And know that was it
This day was my whol life
And it is over
And if I am blessed to wake once more…
May I do it all again
May I do it all again more fiercely, more passionately
More graciously goofily and generously
Until my life measures up
To the love I feel
As I walk, bike, or ride an octopus
Through the eternal city of dreams
In which my soul feels at home.
These days we are moving beyond the concept of traits, or labels. We see gender along a spectrum. We don’t have to identify as straight, gay, bisexual or pansexual: we can just like people when we like them. There are now so many different kinds of relationship styles, many of us prefer not having to choose which one we ‘are’.
So while we’re at it, I’d like to rant a little. Or perhaps confess.
I absolutely loathe talking about sex drive.
I hear so many people talk about sex drive as though it’s a ‘trait’ rather than a ‘state’. Friends tell me they have a really high libido, or that they are asexual, or demisexual. And every time I find myself in the ‘sex drive’ talk, no matter what the context of the conversation, I cringe. I get triggered. I just can’t measure up, no matter what you say, or how you say it. If you ‘are’ your sex drive, then presumably you think that I also ‘am’ my sex drive. And that also means there are others like you. Which means you and all those other people have opinions about who people ‘are’ based on what you think about their ‘sex drive’. Well guess what? My sex drive isn’t a trait. And whether or not I happen to be aroused in this moment or that is none of your fucking business (unless of course, it is).
You see, I can’t win if I have to choose a single characteristic that defines my sexual desire, cravings, fantasies, fears, aversions, curiosities. It might please you if I say I have a high sex drive, but it will offend or repulse someone else, while others might think it means I will have sex with anyone, anywhere, anytime, anyhow, and still others will think I must be insecure or lonely that I am constantly seeking out physical intimacy. If I say I have a low sex drive, you might equally make assumptions about my sexual skills, capabilities, worthiness, needs, loneliness, interests, enthusiasm, energy, health, and more. Demi-sexual? What the hell? Really? Do we really think that because someone has desire in certain select situations with select people that they deserve to be called a half-sex?
I know we are all collectively developing awareness of the risks that labels pose. Labels create stories. They create judgement. They separate ‘us’ from ‘them’.
I sometimes tap into my sexual woundedness and shame, and sometimes I am in my sexual power. Sometimes sex isn’t even in my consciousness. And all of those states are beautiful, authentic, precious. There are moments when I wish the whole world would fuck me, others where I just want one lover to feed me a single strawberry for eternity, and still others when I wish I didn’t even reside in a physical body. I want you to love me no matter where I am on the spectrum in this moment. I want you to appreciate the many facets of who I ‘am’ and how I show up in the world, and to recognize that no matter how well you know me, I just might be morphing before your very eyes. I need to know that I am enough, no matter where my sexual desire is right in this moment. Sexual desire is not who I am, it is something I feel. I promise I will do my very best to offer you the same.
Based on my personal experience, I would like to propose a 3-faceted model in which we may experience compersion. I’d love your feedback.
Majestic jester in jackal jokes
The guru guffaws, the giraffe chokes
On morsels of memories that block the flow
Now anger softens to bittersweet woe
Reign in the story, release the metaphory
Tap tap tap out the allegory
Up come core wounds, protect my soul
My dragon awakens, fire…takes a toll
An unmet need, a tragic belief
My innocence, jaded, seeks relief
Inside my storm I see the eye
My inner sense gives wings to fly
Turn off the projector, laughs the jester
Know the dark but do not let her
Shadow cast upon your path
Make you forget “This too shall pass”
I have just had a black leather blindfold gently placed over my eyes. I am told to stand up and bend forward. Strong muscles under warm soft skin wrap around my torso and I am lifted into a fireman’s carry over the shoulder of a man who has never before experienced my touch. I am carried with ease up a flight of stairs. Foot steps follow us.
My feet brush across a doorway frame, we are in a room. More hands reach for me, as I am carefully lowered into a pair of straps mounted to a ceiling. Whispers help guide me into a swing. It’s my first time in a sex swing.
All of my lovers go silent. Hands gently cradle my head so I can completely sink into my surroundings. I inhale, find that place in my heart of trust, relax my body as I exhale, and prepare to offer the ultimate gift of total surrender of my body over to the care of my lovers. The gift, is to myself.
For the next two hours, I experience a flow unlike anything I have ever known. Several lovers (including one friend I have never been intimate with) are here to worship me, take me, over and over, without ever making a sound. I let go of any curiosity as to who is inside of me, who has just thrust themselves into my eager mouth, who is at my neck, my breasts. I am the only one making noise, and my moans erupt freely, pulsing in parallel to the pleasure I am swimming in.
With salience, I remember this feeling inside me. As if crossing through a portal, I have completely returned to erotic innocence. I hope that you, the reader, have a youthful memory that involves the compassionate curiosity of our earliest experiences of sexuality. If you are so blessed, you will remember it when you find it again as I did. A moment where you know you are so safe, so loved, so held, that you can say ‘no’ or make a request with no fear of trauma or judgement. And your lovers can receive that ‘no’ without ever taking it personally or projecting any meaning. All our memories of woundedness melt away, and we are simply present, curious, and playful.
This was my birthday wish. To shed a layer of shame, the internalized oppression of self judgement – slut, dirty, cheap – that comes with growing up in a world where my sex and my sexuality is feared, judged, and objectified. I created a scenario to challenge those beliefs to the core. Like ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), I chose graded exposure to face my fears. And lovers, you obliged.
I feel so much bliss right now, so much love, so blessed. I am awake and aroused. Pleasure is safe, pleasure is beautiful, pleasure is a divine gift. Thank you for this ultimate birthday present: sexual healing.