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What are the attributes of romantic male figures you think are important... In popular media, or even your own experiences.

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What songs do you think of as romantic and why?


Feb. 5th, 2006 05:37 pm
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I want to redefine Romance. When I look up romance and romantic in the Wikipedia, I get definitions that seem to basically mean "an unattainable ideal".

Well, that's all well and good... I have spent most of my life trying to make believe I was living in a world nicer than it is... But it's also kind of useless in a day to day sense. The only use is as an escape. Which is necessary from time to time, but isn't a healthy place to live.

Mark Michael Lewis defines romance as the model we got as kids about how things (in his case, relationships) should go. And goes on to say that we get the "in love" feeling when our relationships are going according to our map of how they should go. There's a lot of room in this defintion for the "unattainable ideal", because we pursue this ideal unconciously. In fact, if Harville Hendrix is right with his imago model, we pursue these romantic visions with people who share attributes in common with those that contributed to our emotional woundings. This leads to high probability that we won't meet our romantic vision.

At the same time as this ideal image of how relationships should go, we also have ideas about how the relationship WILL go. Equally unconcious. And if we came from abusive circumstances, these expectations about how things will go can be pretty far from this romantic ideal. And we will react to things as if these expectations are true, even if they're not. And by doing so, we will often create the circumstance we fear. Those of us with issues about our worth will believe the world is going to demonstrate that no one really wants to be in relationship with us, that sooner or later they'll come to their senses and leave us... Or like me when I was younger, basically be unable to approach anybody directly.

And most of us aren't taught anything about how to achieve these ideals. If we are taught anything about pursuing ideals, it's the consumerism ideal. That model is at least clear in our modern mythology. We can see that in people like Bill Gates.

What does this all result in? Cynisism. Clearly nothing really good is attainable. Either because the world isn't the way it's supposed to be, or because we're flawed in some way... Or both.

Who and what we're taught to be tends to be laid down early in life. When I was a kid, I was taught to be like James Stewart, Bing Crosby, Cary Grant... Maybe with a dash of Errol Flynn. I think I got that via William Shatner. Characters who were fundimentally good. Not necessarly law abiding, but good.

And I was unable to manifest that in the world while I was growing up. We moved from place to place a lot because dad had this thing about getting the bigger, better house. I was constantly the new kid. The current alpha males pushed me out because they were unconciously thwarting the competition.

So, I gave up. I lived in that cynical world of believing it couldn't be made better.

We need a model that promotes making things better. An ideal that however good or bad things are, they can be made better, and that real people can do it. Even real people who think they're flawed in some way.

So maybe we can't be the ideal we were trained to unconciously be or seek. We can be better. We can get closer to that than we are. We need to develop an approach that helps move us in that direction. A vision of making things better. A tool set that helps anyone who wants to achieve better in their lives. A belief that it can be done.

I've been just trying to get along. When we came to the coaching was the first time I felt like I had something to give and that it had value. With this new focus on attainable romance, I feel like I've landed smack in the middle of what I am supposed to do here. Figure out how to create these models, to communicate them in a way that helps people do it just because it's easier than what they've been doing.

A Sustainable And Achievable Romanic Vision Of A Better Life.

Illistrated in every medium I can.

Thoughts about how to help achieve this?
akienm: (Default)
I was watching one of the DVD extras from the TV series Monk, about that show and the producer said basically the intent was to take the Sherlock Holmes idea and set it on it's ear by giving him the OCD issues to deal with.

I thought "How can I turn the romance novel idea on it's ear?" So I decided to write from my own perspective, about what the hero is thinking and feeling during the story... and the intimate encounters.

It'll be interesting to see if I can pull that off in a way that lures female readers. I've been exploring the idea a little in IMs to sweeties... I'll be creating a viniette (sp?) on this topic and posting it to LJ soon for feedback.
akienm: (Default)
So, regarding the "Stereotypical Hero" post here:

I decided I needed to write the gal who wrote the test.

Your quiz said:

You are the Stereotypical Romance Novel Hero! What that means is, like the image of the male model Fabio, you do a lot of posturing, but generally know what you're talking about.

You need to get over yourself. No one is that buff, manly, sexually talented, and arrogant without either being on drugs or being gay.

You ought to get in touch with the rough-and-tumble side of your masculinity and stop tossing your hair.


My reply:

Fortunatly, I don't have to toss my hair much. It manages itself well. As far as talented, I give classes on relationship skills. Communication, sexuality, whatever. Sexually talented? I love performing oral sex on women for hours at a time. Or until they pass out (I'm not kidding). And I have an unusually short refractory period. Usuallly on the order of betwen 90 seconds and 10 minutes. And I snuggle after sex because I like it. Arrogant? Well, I wrote this. ;^) Gay? No, but I am polyamorous, I have a wife and 3 other regular female sweeties. We do family things together. Rough and tumble? I teach broadsword fighting at rennassance faires. Accent? Scottish.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

I haven't put up anything about me yet, so you can read about me here if you want:


Now I'm gonna go read about you!

But first I need to post this. He he!

Arrogant? Maybe. Amused? Yes. Take myself seriously? Never. I've learned the hard way not to do that. But amused? Indeed!
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Help me understand complaining. Help me understand what to say or do while it's going on.

There's a book (which I have not read) called "Don't be nice, be real". It's by a friend of ours. It's about speaking what's true for you. And I think it's a good idea. I think my partners should be able to talk to me about anything....

One tensie little problem. I don't want to hear people complain. I mean, I don't have a problem with making a space where they can vent, *IF THEY ASK*. Where I just repeat to myself over and over "this is just a statement of feelings, and I don't have to do anything about it".

But when, in my perception, there is a consistant complaint, and I see things they could do to resolve it but aren't, I just don't want to hear it any more.

That's not a path by which one can have intimacy with that person tho.

If I try to just listen to the complaint, it feels like a gale force wind battering me. Especially if it's expressed loudly. Even if it's not about me.

And this wonderful book is about expressing, it appears (without having yet read it) that it is about giving the person the idea that they can and should express.

I need a book for the listener. "How to be empathetic no matter what the other person says".

I want to be a good partner. I know Dawn doesn't feel like she can just share all of herself with me. That hurts me so much. But it's my own creation. Because I grew up with models where that kind of expressing was verboten. Especially when expressing to someone other than who you're upset at. And I simply do not know how to handle it.

And the most worrying bit is: My ability to deal with it is becoming less and less.

Anybody have any ideas?
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I learned something tonight, from playing solitare on BART. Something they should teach in "manager school"...

It concerns how one uses resources.

The way the idea occurred, I was laying cards out, and there were several opportunities I had to put out a card from the stack, but didn't. Sometimes when you put a card out, you later wind uop blocking a card you need to move. So I've started putting out cards when there's an opportunity that putting that card out will have some specific utility.

Sometimes I put cards out without specific utility, taking the risk that this card will give me some utility later. The higher the card, the more likely I am to do this. This is risk assessment.

And 'm winning more often!

It's like a well, duh thing, but I only just learned it in words.
akienm: (Default)
Do what you love and the money will come.

I've heard that over and over. In workshops and self help books. And I've *thought* I had found what I wanted to do. I thought that coaching was THE thing. I think in retrospect I wasn't quite right about that.

But when I look at my life, there is one consistant theme. Looking for and cultivating love. Love has made me crazy, depressed, ecstatic... I have joked that "it is just all about the sex", because that's what some people seemed to think about me. If that were true, I wouldn't have turned down sex with someone I liked in order to go just sleep with someone I loved (which I have happily done).

Sex is lovely, I have no plan or desire to give it up. But it so pales as a thing unto itself, when compared with the same thing with a beloved. With someone, either new or in an ongoing relationship, where there is the energy of acceptance, discovery, enthusiasm, play, openness, and unattachment to a specific result. Then there's no pressure. You are free to be whomever you are, and they whomever they are. It becomes a dance, a give and take. To see and be seen for who you really are, accepted, and given the gift of pleasure. Then the pleasure can be of any form, even just talking, kissing, whatever. I have one partner with whom I have called taking care of her when she was sick "making love", because it was. There was so much sense of appreciation from her that I was helping.

Coaching helps me create that for others, and I really like that. I think I will never give that up. But up to now I've thought of coaching as simply a way to make things better for the largest possible number of people. Now I see that "make things better" isn't enough for me. I want to teach people how to create that romantic ecstacy.

Dawn and I shared a moment of that this weekend, and it was an amazing and beautiful thing for me. To have her there before me, with all her walls down, I felt like a teen again, seeing my first lover naked for the very first time. I was filled with wonder, compassion, joy, awe... She is such a gift to do the scary thing of opening herself like that.

So, I want to find ways to make my living from being romantic. So far, ideas include the coaching work, writing romance novels that teach the relationship skills we've been teaching in coaching (a subversive way to make the world a better place), and maybe a workshop on wooing.

I'd like to invite you, whomever you are that's reading this, to throw me any other ideas about how I can make a living at romance.

akienm: (Default)
I am thinking of trying to write a romance. I think to do this, I should read at least a little of the genre. What would you reccomend?

akienm: (victorian)
Being romantic, doing romantic things, is the same thing to me as being a musical performer is to [livejournal.com profile] dawnd. And in discussing it with her, not being able to share music with her has been as uncomfortable for her as not being able to share romance has been for me. And it's not just sharing it, there's a certain resonance, when I can share it with someone with the same interest/talent, it's like playing with a trained musician. It inspires poetry. Fortunately, I currently have a couple of people I can play that music with.
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Reading bullets is boring. Here's what we did is boring. -- Speaking to what we can do now has a lot more life. Speaking to what goals we can now meet is even better. Speaking to new things we can do now beyond what we thought we'd be able to do is a big bonus.
akienm: (Default)
Longish... please bear with me...

In this post, the author discusses what she calls Ozark English. I find the post to be mostly just amusing, not having been to the Ozarks myself.

However it points up some very interesting things. It gives a model on communication and intention. Specifically, the model discusses 4 intentions for communication...

That it be (in no particular order):
  • Understood
  • Pleasant
  • Remembered
  • Believed

And that people from different subcultures (such as the Ozarks) will have differing prioritizations.

She also speaks obliquely to the intentions we put into listening, discussing some of the underlying assumptions and implications that the speaker of Ozark English might have when hearing some of the requests she uses as examples.

I've been thinking on this for something like a week now, and I've determined that I have, for the entierty of my concious life, put P first. Far out front first. That to the best of my ability, all my communications should be as pleasant as possible. Because if they weren't when I was a kid, at best I would get hit.

And I have seen other people not prioritize this way, and it's never made sense. If the other person doesn't find my communication pleasant, everything else I have to say will have that lack of pleasantness working against it. (Now, mind you, what is pleasant also differs by subculture, and I have tried to take that in to account too.)

I even went into test automation and relationship coaching so that the people I interact with could have a more pleasant life. To the greatest degree possible, free of drugery and difficulty.

And my story has been that if I just learned enough, became a good enough husband, then my wife would communicate with me with P as her first intention.

My wife is from the North East part of this country. In the north east, P doesn't come first. U comes first. P comes LAST. For the last 15 years, I have been struggling to create an environment where she could communicate with me in a way that is completely, 180 degrees out of phase with who she is.

I have been listening to her U??P communication all this time  trying to ignore what I found uncomfortable, because sooner or later, I'd figure out how to be a better husband.

Because my P based communication is a survival technique, trying to give it up is completely terrifying. Because it's so ingrained, I fear that, at least with respect to her, I have to put P completely last for a while, at least until I understand how to not put it first. Because right now I have no other idea how to stop putting P first.

Even more daunting, I also have to stop hearing in the same order. If I'm listening with P as the first intention, then everything she says that has U as it's first intention feels at best like I have failed and at worst like I am under attack.

I am glad to have discovered this.

I feel afraid, lost, and almost hopeless.
akienm: (Default)
Story: All arguments and all confrontation are bad and to be avoided at all costs.

That's quite a find...
akienm: (Default)
The image I have in the poly community, as I hear about it anyway, is one of someone who sleeps with everyone he can. Unsaid but implied in some of the things I hear about me are that I am a user. I use people for my own pleasure and discard them. Or perhaps that I collect people as some kind of badge of success.

I hate these images.

I think they come from my trying to be charming (when I haven't been hiding from everyone because my story has been that people are dangerous). I had to work really hard to learn to be charming. I had to discover I had a talent with words and learn how to use it. I had to learn to pay attention to people.

I think we have a suspicion in our society of people who have developed those skills. Clearly the fact that I have developed them leads people to think that I don’t care about anything but getting laid.

And to make things more complicated, I am very sexually driven, and that drive is what has resulted in my learning these skills.

But that’s not what shapes my relationships. I also learned along the way that I have better sex, and more of it, by cultivating long term relationships.

I have had only one new involvement in the last 17 months. She lives far away, but I do hope to keep seeing her. Mostly, I love exploring my connection with those I’m already connected to. I want a few deep romantic connections, and lots of friends. Not lots of shallow connections and few real friends. In my life I've had 3 one night stands, and none of them were intended to be one night stands. I am not interested in sex just for sex with anyone. If I flirt with you, it’s probably because I really would like to develop a long term connection (romantic or otherwise).

I love paying attention to people. Especially people who haven’t gotten a lot of that in their lives. I love romance. I love calling people in the middle of the day just to say "I’m thinking about you". I love putting all my attention into my hands when I touch someone. I love surprising people by really striving to see them, the good and the bad, and loving the whole person.

Now, mind you, I couldn’t possibly find time for long term connection with everyone I’d like to have long term connection with... fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be an issue, of the people I’m interested in, very few have shown any interest in me... Which hasn’t been made easier by how unapproachable I’ve been in my own fear, but I am working to change that. Mostly, if you’re not involved with me, but interested in me, I don’t know it. 


Nov. 23rd, 2005 12:32 pm
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I think I just attained enlightenment.

I learned that everything in life is a gift... Because: Why not?

Why not have everything be a gift? Even the challenges? Because without them being a hardship we have to endure, by seeing everything as a gift, everything contributes to me, nothing takes away from me. Even when things in my life result in my being tired, I get to see the tiredness as a gift, an expression of my humanity, which is also a gift, because it gives me the experience of my family. My community.

What prevents this? What prevents seeing the world this way? The things our parents and the world taught us about the world... Mostly from the perspective of people who aren't seeing the world as a gift. So we have a lot of unlearning to do. And in general, we move to that unlearning through pain, cuz by design we're somewhat lazy creatures, we conserve our energy until it's time to seek food, shelter, or mating opportunities. (Or whatever else we've programmed ourselves to see as creating pleasure in either the short or long term).

I've been spending a lot of time lately examining "Blocking Beliefs" those notions about the world that get in the way of us being our happiest. I learned today that my parents (and their Christian upbringing) saw the world as something to be endured, not as a gift. I bet that one lesson, learning to see the world as a gift, would tend to extend the lifespan of every individual that learned it by some notable and measurable amount. Even if only from  the stress it relieves.

Not everyone will like me. That too is a gift because it creates differentiation, which results in better problem solving skills for the race as a whole. It certainly moves me to learn, which has moved me to be better at self examination and problem solving, which has resulted in this new perspective. A gift!

And after enlightenment, comes laundary. Back to work now...
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Some of you will already know this, a few of you may not....

We recorded an episode of Montel on the subject of Polyamory, and it will air 11/29 (SF Bay Area Channel 2 10AM and 5PM).

We are looking for a digital recording of this, if you have the tools to help us out.

Dawn heard about this from Robyn Trask at Loving More, and after much agonizing about it, decided she was up for doing it. We (including the lovely [livejournal.com profile] grynz) were flown to NYC on 11/8 where we arrived in the late hours. In the morning, we did some taping in the hotel, then we met up with Dawn's sweetie and his fiancee out front and did some more taping. After that we were on our own until the next morning, where we were wisked to the studio at 7:30. There was a lot of hurry up and wait for hair and makeup, then we got to meet Nan and John Wise and their family. Very cool folks. Then it was out on stage. Nothing we've done could have prepaired me for it. It was extremely fast moving, and it was more a learning experience than an opportunity to present my views. Hard to get a word in edgewise. When the taping was done, we were wisked from the statge to the airport with all possible speed. Alas, we didn't even get to chat with out co-guests hardly at all.
akienm: (Default)
This phrase perked my interest today. It's from the song "Elstree", by The Buggles. It's about an actor, and he's saying he started his career viewing it like it would be a long shot for him to get there... and when he got there, well, it wasn't what he thought.

How often do we look at our lives that way? I know I've looked at relationships that way, like it was amazing that I had any at all. It's habit from my high school days, when I pretty much didn't. Well, I had two relationships during that era, and they were both very disfunctional, and for some value of it, short lived.

That isn't my life now. I know I am making a difference. It may be a small one, but ever since our first TV gig, I've known that we were making a difference.  We appeared in a news spot for an LA news program on poly - and met a couple at the next LM conference we went to who were trying to be poly, but had no name for it, no community, no support, etc. They saw us, looked up polyamory on the web, and got hooked up to community. If I never did anything else right, we made a huge change in their lives.

I believe it will all work out and that we get to be happy. Some days it's easier to hold that belief than others, but mostly it's good.

My life is not a long shot. My life is working. And will keep working. Thank you.
akienm: (Default)
I want to make a difference in people's day to day lives. I want to make them easier.

I am facinated by the neuromechanics of the brain. Of how we think, how we create, and how we relate.

When I was younger, I was facinated by science. When I took the GED, I scored in the 99th percentile for science. I loved going to places like the Exploritorium. I loved playing with technical things.

And yet, I went into computers. In part because I thought science was out of reach for me. I was sooooo bored in school. I never completed algebra... How could I possibly be a scientist?

And now I spend my time studying how I think, how others think, and when I can scrape up the minutes to, reading what I can on cogantive science, neurobiology, psychology, psychopharmacoliogy...

I'd love to invent a way that we can conciously control serotonin, norepanepherine and dopamine levels in the brain. Perhaps even other systems. Think of being able to cure depression with just mental excercises!

I'd also like to take these learnings , and everything we've learned about relating, and the various "enlightenment teachings", and figure out how to use all the latest learnings on psychology and marketing to wrap them in sound bytes and make them accessable to everyone.
akienm: (Default)
If I am in pain, and I approach someone who is not the cause of the pain, my hope is:

1) That by expressing it, I will alter the circumstance enough that I can then use other tools to deaal with it. For instance, if I've had an argument with Person A, I may seek out someone else to vent at, so I can deescalate enough return to interacting with Person A, with the goal of eliminating the pain.

2) That by expressing it, I will learn something about me that helps me deal with the situation. For instance, have some insight that lets me look at the situation differently.

3) That by expressing it, I will learn something from who I am expressing it to that will make a difference in the circumstance. Brainstoming or providing tools or experience.

If I take the pain to the person who is the cause of it, I am looking to resolve it. Whether that's by making agreements, getting an apology, expressing a boundary, or whatever. I am interested in empathy only if I cannot achieve another resolution. My focus is about halting the pain.

If it's not an other person, if for instance it's about society at large, then I have three choices:

1) Be upset. Simply remain in that space.

2) Try to change the world. Which I am trying to do.

3) Change me. Which I am also trying to do.

If I am expressing myself, and the people around me are not understanding me, then I need to either remain in pain, educate those around me in my communication, or change my communication to be compatible with their listening.

What are your thoughts on this topic?
akienm: (Default)
1) What is it in the here and now which is causing me to feel fear?

2) What past events or patterns are also causing me to feel fear? (It is not necessary to delve too deeply here, just list whatever comes to mind)

3) What are the real, present and future, benefits of taking this risk? (Of feeling the fear and doing it anyway?)

4) What are the real risks in the here and now? How can we effectivly manage them?

5) With the risks thus managed, are there any other support structures we can put in place that will help in taking this leap?

6) Is the benefit worth the real costs we've identified? (To manage the risks)

Every action has risk associated with it.

Each leap is like lifting a barbell. They aren't easy, but the do get easier with practice.

It is important to be as realistic as possible in assessing the risks and benefits. Rather than getting caught up in every possible thing which might go wrong.

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