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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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...
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 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.
I had decided to throw a party, my very first one, and had spent some time steeling myself to ask her to come. I'd never asked a girl out before either.
And when I did, she got this look of disgust and said "Go to a party with you?!" And then she laughed.
This is why it's so hard for me to ask a woman out. This is why I reactivly think they wouldn't want to be with me. It's also why each relationship has seemed so precious, here's someone who wants to see me. It's always a surprise when someone says they want me.
(I request that if we are in relationshp (or if you're otherwise comfortable doing so), and you do want me, you tell me. Frequently and often if possible. It would be a great gift. (Yes, tenacious_snail, you tell me lots. :) Not that you should stop, mind you! )
I am planning on writing about the new world, post shift.
I want to write about the decisions I'm making about who I'll be in this new world.
I want to write about my childhood, and my relationships with Dawn, Les, K, Maragaret, Dawn A & family, Donna, Tawny & Clovis. And maybe a few others.
I am planning on an article or book on agreements. I'll be working on that in a formless way for the moment, jsut gathering ideas.
I plan to script the inner child meditation, and get the first version of that recorded.
Perhaps move forward with the second draft of Better Self meditation as well.
At the same time as all this, I am reading a book Amy R reccomended to me, but now I can't remember the name of the book or the author! And it's about getting organized.
And, of course, learning to be more organized and less reactive.
Another reminder: K - there needs to be business cards you can give to people to give to others regarding WHF. Something about spreading smiles.
I have to give some possibly apparently unrelated bits of background in order to explain this:
The way the mind works, and in particular the way the emotions work, are not irrational at all. It's actually all very logical (but isn't always right).
When we have something that triggers us, our amygdala has spotted something that it can quickly identify as needing an immediate reaction. It floods the body with chemicals, which are designed to get us ready for whatever is happening, and to get our observational attention and the attention of our intellect.
Once we start putting our attention on the issue, that gives that reaction more energy. Then our intellect comes along and starts doing two things, the first is starting to try and explain what's happening... "I'm feeling fear, and there's a tiger in front of me, therefore I must be afraid of the tiger!" The second thing it does is catastrophising. It starts trying to think of what might happen, what we need to be ready for. "It might try to eat me!" All of these build on each other. Now we have our amygdala, our attention and our intellect all focused in the same direction, a lot of energy is building very quickly, and we have become reactive. This is a completely normal human response cycle. Which doesn't mean that the assumptions of the amygdala or even the intellect are right, but that's a whole different can of worms.
The Buddhist have a notion they call "The Watcher". This is where you learn to observe these processes. I started learning to do this before becoming aware of the Buddhist idea because I was trying to figure out how to manage my own fears and reactions, so that my relationship with Dawn would be more successful.
You can use this watcher concept to interrupt this reactive cycle. It takes practice, but it can be done. And one does get better at it with practice.
One of the things we taught early in our coaching work was that denial is not a bad thing. Denial is a logical response to feeling that you're unable to cope with some stressor. We used to say "If you gave up everything you're in denial about all at once, your head would explode".
I have been doing that watcher thing for some time, but this year things really stepped up. I got the audio book of The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This dovetails well with my philosophy in general, and gave a boost to this self observation process. I also am deeply in love with a woman who's been exploring some related stuff for a long time. She's also listened to The Power Of Now, and is studying from a local teacher and attending an ashram where she's learning even more. All this provides yet more impetus for me to keep extending my skills in this area.
However, there's an unintended side effect.
When you start trying to embrace the watcher concept that quickly, you begin to be unable to remain in denial. You start watching yourself turn away from things, like your bad habits, whatever they might be.
At first I thought I was jealous of someone else this lady was interested in. I worked really hard with that one, because we know a lot about jealousy.
Then I thought she was growing bored with me or that she might be getting annoyed with how reactive I had become.
These were both my intellect trying to explain what was happening, but they were guesses, and they were wrong guesses.
The further I've gotten into it, the more I can see that this isn't so. This is me. I am confronting all the things I was in denial about all at once.
I am confronting that I am not consistent enough with my children. I am confronting that I do not make my children important enough in my life (which is what I feel my parents did with me). I am confronting my relationship with my wife, what I've been putting into it, how I've taken her for granted. I have already been confronting work issues, now I have to actually look at how I do not own my work in the way I should to assure I keep the job. How I don't pick up after myself. How I often don't live up to my intentions. How I have said things to my wife about how her feelings of frustration are OK, while at the same time cringing inside - wanting to flee and cry and bury myself away from them... Because, well, she *should* be able to have her feelings, and that she's angry means that I have let her down, no matter why she's angry (goes back to my mom). How I said a lot of things to Lisa about my intentions which were not in alignment with what I was actually willing to fight for when Dawn started challenging the cost in both time and money. How I don't seem to be able to run a group for more than 3/4 of a year. How I have cheated on the rules of almost everything at some point. About how breaking poly agreements led to the destruction of the last external poly relationship to come close to being what I have now... And about how terrified I am I'll do something stupid and lose K. About how I don't generally value life in the way that I should, like killing bugs rather than relocating them. About how I tend to make anything that's uncomfortable unimportant. About how we have really very little saved for our future and no plan other than to keep doing the coaching till I can't anymore. Which I fear I'll start doing only after I can't do enough for the tech industry and won't be able to get a job anymore. About how both Les and Bronwyn have commented that they wish I could give them more, and I've felt held back in a way I don't understand. About how I often knowingly gave my siblings the short end of things, taking the largest share for myself whenever possible. About how I turned my back on my bio family instead of trying to make it better. About how I don't feel like I deserve to be taken care of because I never felt like I was important enough as a kid. About how I was a thief as a child. About how I scare off so many people, either by being to open or to reserved (talk about a no win situation). And how I don't really want to do the work, I don't want to put in the effort to change and get better. I'm having to confront that I'm lazy and would rather spend all my time in endorphin induced blissfull haze. How I have a drive to feel important, and maybe that's all the mission I've ever had. I'm having to confront all my judgments about myself. And my judgments about the judgments.
But I think the worst is: I am not feeling competent about anything right now. It's like my inventiveness, which got me through so much, has just disappeared (mind you, it demonstrably hasn't, but for some reason it *feels* like it has). And with all the rest, it leaves me feeling like I'm walking through a desolate wasteland in my head.
And it's all left me feeling like anything unexpected is dangerous. Every time somebody suggests something, I have to stop and actually look at it, which for some reason comes across as *really* irritating. This was actually the first symptom, and started some time last year, but I didn't understand what it meant. This was my first sign of emotional contraction.
I hurt. I feel like I'm feeling all the pain I had supressed in my past, all at once. Ego death.
So that's what's going on. I am making this post at the suggestion of Mister Wizard. He indicates that by owning it publically like this, I'm taking out the trash. That the next step will be defining something new... Rebuilding.
But I think there's at least one more load of trash to go.
I am me. Sometimes I play some of those roles, but that isn't me. That's a facet of me.
And all I know of you are just facets of you.
I am still learning me. If I am still learning me, how can you know me? Everything about me is changable, and may change as I see need for it. I am willing to explore with you, if you're willing to accept all this.
I want to thank those that have accepted that. Pixie, K-, Les, Anna, Donna, Jon... The Noodles... The far away lovers we want to grow closer to... And so many others.
For those others, who for whatever reason aren't accepting or do not like me, I genuinely wish you all the happiness you can open to accepting... However that manifests in your life. I hold you no ill will and am more sorry than I could say for harms I may have caused you. They have weighed on me every day of my life. Someday I'll write all of them I can remember here.
I declare for all to see that I am afraid. I am afraid of losing my labels. I am afraid of not being the husband, boyfriend, lover... I am afraid of not having value to bring to the community... I am afraid of the hurts I have brought to others... I am afraid of conflict. I am afraid of being infirm and unable to care for myself.
I stand exposed.
[Posted with hblogger 2.0 http://www.normsoft.com/hblogger/]
The first was that I had been unable to shake the upset... The other person and I worked things out, but for a couple of reasons, I wasn't able to let go of all of it. One of my oft replayed phrases from Illusions by Richard Bach was "we decide, ourselves, to hurt or not to be hurt. Us who decide, nobody else". How do I reconcile being the one who decices, with the pain I'm still in?
But today as I was coming in to work, I remembered another concept from Illusions: We're here for the learning. All the discomfort I was feeling was about my needing to learn something... So what is it? I still don't know, but when I shifted that, then the pain subsided. I know I'll find the lesson.
The second thing was this post from tenacious_snail...
I am truely gifted by my family.
There is a big distinction between rooting out intolerance; and letting the existence of intolerance limit your sense of humor.
Laughter is one of the greatest gifts we have, and to render specific aspects of life off limits to humor enslaves us all to the limitations of a few.
There are many paths to every goal. Creating safety by limiting the actions, feelings or thoughts of others should always be held to a minimum, lest the state (as the state per se
There should be respect for all individuals. There should be a striving for partnering. There should be education about how to have and maintain boundaries. There should be a partnering in support of boundaries, where such boundaries protect individuals from harm or from unequal availability of opportunities. There should be a concerted effort to teach these ideas and support these values. And there should be a striving within this context to shed the reactive responses to past pain. When a structure for safety is in place, the need for reactivity is past. And even in the face of a need for change, reactivity limits the options of the person experiencing it, it does not create safety, it limits the options for safety.
It should not be a goal of society to insure the comfort of all the individuals in a society unless that society is going to feed and house all those most in need first. All else is hipocracy. Further, by attempting to insure the comfort of the few, we limit their potential for growth, since most human growth stems from attempting to grow beyond our discomforts.
To limit anyone from expressing themselves simply because I have pain in my past results in limiting us all to the least common denominator. This is not respectful of the individual, and does us all harm. It limits creativity. It limits questioning the value of specific things, which then results in rules which serve a few at the expense of the many. And which may exist far beyond their usefulness to the individuals in question.
This is the reason why free speech was codified in the constitution.
And this is the tyranny of having a cause, the terrorism of political correctness.