As I continue to read my way through my grandmother’s thoughts, recorded in her seventies, I find some sections fascinating, some painful, and others insightful. Here is an extract from a section entitled “Sex / Making Love”:
“This has always been a subject I don’t mind generalising or talking about theoretically, but to anyone other than my lover, in bed, I could not ever find it appropriate to give voice to my own experience. I slide out and away from other people’s confidings, complaints, privacies. And I find excessively distateful the all-too-common older woman’s obsession with the subect, snide remarks etc.
Recently, a dear friend asked me, directly, “Don’t you ever long for / miss _?”
“No,” I said, “it came to an end in a way it wouldn’t have were I and my partner ageing together. But I was in a position to decide = no more.”
Afterwards I thought – that is true, but when did it happen? How? Why? Probably in my mid-fifties. Not that there were so many approaches – there aren’t when you give out no signals. My last proposition as in 1992; before that, poor lonely George desperately sought to marry me.
Anyway, I do know the basis and it is this – that I no longer found myself attractive. An essential part of the delight would be gone; characteristically, I’d rather have nothing than 3rd, 4th, 5th… best. I must consider this business about “only the best” (my best, not anyone else’s judgement of) later because I have really this thought to ponder first: the four elements climbing one on the other. My delight in my lover; his in me; mine in me through him; his in himself through mine in him. One of those beautiful mysteries.”
I found this so deeply moving, I wanted to share it! It was posted on a Facebook group tonight by The Fountain of Life.
‘What if I kiss all the spots you taught yourself to hate?
What if I placed my hands on them and left them still,
long enough for my heat to join yours
and you to forget there was ever air between our skin?
What if I love all you loathe and what if I spend my days
dirtying up your brain that was washed?
Show you new pictures of the same you
you started avoiding in the mirror?
What if I say all they say is wrong
and fill your ears with honest words
in a language you stopped practicing?
What if I plant new flowers
in the places you frown at,
and teach you the names of them as they bloom?
What if I told you to never cut them
and let the petals
decorate the floor
as you twirl through your life?
What if you forget you were ever
anything other than beautiful’
~ Tyler Knott Gregson
After a fun first session playing with moving an egg made of beautiful rock up and down, and side to side within my yoni, strengthening and gaining increasing control over my PC muscles, I turned to read more of Shakti Malan’s ‘Sexual Awakening for Women’. The part that particularly caught my interest this evening was this:
“Tantra evolved in the East as an advanced-level secret practice within existing Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist and even Christian orders. The message these religions gave to the masses was that spiritual evolution will only occur when you overcome desire, when you learn to use your will to contain your base impluses.
But the select few who were deemed ready for higher level teachings were secretly taught the Tantraic way. Tantra teach that the way through is the way through. If there is desire, the way through is through the desire. If there is desire, there will also be the opposite of desire. As you embrace your deepest desires, you also get put through the fire of your greatest fears.
The only way to no longer be a prisoner of desires and fears is to face them, live them, get submerged in them, move through them” Continue reading
The most profound shifts can come from the most simple and obvious of realisations.
As I created my Inner Critic two days ago, and reflected on the process, I wrote that “My self-criticism crystallised as being from a space of others perceptions rather than my own true feelings.” This observation has become increasingly clear over the past few days, as I have looked up at my Inner Critic (perched on top of my bathroom cupboard, out of the reach of children’s playful hands) and felt at an ever-deeper level that, actually, when it just comes down to me and it, I love my body – in the same way in which I love those around me. I do not look at other people and criticise them; I accept and love them just as they are.
I remember, as a teenager, finding a pimple on my cheek and feeling quite certain it would disgust others. I then reflected that I carry no such judgement of my boyfriend, or friends, so why did I feel that they would of me? This awareness flits through my consciousness on the odd occasion, reminding me to be more gentle on myself, but until now has not shifted my conscious relating with my body in an ongoing way.
If I remove my perception of the theoretical judgments of others, I am entirely loving of and content with myself, just as I am. That somehow, suddenly, makes the task of more complete self-acceptance feel entirely possible, and indeed firmly within my grasp.
Following on from my reflections on my own body perception, the second exercise in ‘Sexual Awakening for Women – A Tantric Workbook’ involves using play dough to create a visual representation of my inner critic. The purpose of this exercise is “to trasmute the energy of the inner critic into that of an ally”. The instructions encouraged me to play around with images, and “see what starts to shape itself in your hands. Perhaps the shape will be a symbol, perhaps it will be an image of a person who is always critical of you. Let your intuition and the clay guide you in shape the object.”
After getting out my children’s play dough last week, and setting in on the desk in my bedroom, it has taken me a little time to actually complete the exercise. In fact, my children had fun playing with the dough all week, while I still hesitated. I was interested to notice my blockage around this, and try to gentle see where it came from. I realised, on the one hand, that while I have always loved creating, I definitely find it a lot harder to get started with externally creative tasks such as painting than I do reading or writing, which are my natural comfort zones. I somehow trust that with words I will always find a means of comfortable expression, whereas with painting, sculpture or drawing, it is a more hit-and-miss creative endevour. I also noticed that while I can read or write in almost any environment, with noise and distraction all around me, for painting I prefer quite an uninterrupted space on my own – not easy to create with a busy family and work life!
But I took the quite space after the children went to bed tonight, and took out the play dough. Continue reading
Sitting in the warming autumn sunshine, a gentle breeze setting the wind chimes singing and birdsong all around, I am looking out over a lush green valley all the way to the sea. Although twenty kilometers away it looks, through the crisp air, as if I could dip my toes in it. I am suffused with deep contentment.
Rather than spending the morning, as I usually would on a Saturday, running around getting things done, I made the rewarding decision to simply relax and make some time for myself. I slept late, only rising at 8am when my husband left for work. I rolled out my yoga mat for the first time all week, did some foam rolling and stretching, some gentle warm-up exercises, and then my first fully engaged TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercise) session in a number of weeks. This flowed naturally into four Qigong sequences, the conscious breathing continued and a deep awareness of energy and movement. All of this was interrupted multiple times by my young children, but I just let the interruptions flow in and out, and continued to hold my space and engagement.
I had a light and wholesome breakfast, and returned to my yoga mat – still bathed in sunshine – to practice Microcosmic energy mediation. I found that the interruptions become more difficult to manage at this point, and found I could only keep my concentration for a few minutes at a time. Being fairly new to meditation, I am trying to be fairly gentle on myself when my thoughts interrupt my focus, but would like to keep practising each morning.
I then moved outside into the full sunshine to continue reading Mantak and Maneewan Chia’s “Cultivating Female Sexual Energy”, which I have been finding very engaging. Continue reading
Two days after pondering my own feelings towards my body, as I work through a Tantric workbook, I began reading a notebook my grandmother left to my mother when she died, and has caused some inter-generational family conflict since my own mother died. One of the entries was entitled ‘Personal Appearance’, and felt strangely relevant even though so entirely different to my own experience and perception.
“When I was a very small child I once inadvertently heard my mother describe me as “no oil painting.” This was certainly true – there was my brother, an exceptionally beautiful boy, and there was I, plump, freckled, blob-nosed. It didn’t matter as I was well-loved and the “I” inside me had emotions and thoughts but no outward appearance at all. Continue reading