Conscious Loving in relationships

sex, abstinence, celibate, relationship, men, women

In preparation for the relationship that may be in my future after I complete my year without sex, I’ve been reading a book called Conscious Loving by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks which reveals the secret to a healthy relationship. Are you ready to hear how to have a partnership free from drama and fighting? The key to happy coupledom is to tell the truth about the way you feel. That’s it. Sounds simple but I have to confess I never knew how I felt when I was in relationships because I had never spent enough time on my own to understand my own emotions.

Every time I thought I felt something it was actually about something else, usually an incident that had happened in my past. The current situation would trigger the memory of the thing that happened before and that’s what I’d really be upset about except I didn’t realize it. There’s no way I could tell the truth about the way I felt, either, because that would require being vulnerable and I wasn’t willing to do that. Of course, not allowing myself to be vulnerable was another result of a childhood in which my feelings and desires were discounted in favour of what my emotionally unhealthy parents thought they wanted.

And there’s another reason I’ve never had a healthy relationship according to the book: I blamed my parents for the way I was feeling today. Anytime we take on a victim status, no matter how justified, we disempower ourselves from improving our current relationships. When we absolve ourselves of responsibility we take away any chance to make our circumstances better. It’s imperative that we admit our part in letting this happen in our lives. What did we do to set up such a sick relationship? That goes for abusive situations as well. We have to get honest about our patterns in order to break them.

Fargo’s Marge Gunderson

Fargo was on TV tonight with that legendary character Marge Gunderson played by Frances McDormand (who won an Academy Award for her trouble). I began watching at the scene in which Margie utters my favourite line in the film to her police partner:

“I’m not sure I agree with you 100% on your police work there, Lou.”

It’s one of the many moments of nuanced feminism in the film as Marge has to navigate around the delicate male ego while also doing her job well. In another scene, a high school classmate arranges to meet Margie who is married and pregnant. When he makes an advance at her she deftly but firmly puts him in his place, again tiptoeing around his ego, assuring him everything is fine, and never losing the sweet smile from her face. She’s a fine example of a strong, feminine woman and it’s one of the few movies that shows how hard it is to be a woman, how much better we have to be just to be considered equal or even in the same league as men.

Frances McDormand’s portrayal of Marge Gunderson in Fargo reminded me why it’s cool to be a woman and not to base the way I feel about myself on what men may think of me or treat me, but to hold my head high in spite of it. And to know I have the right to stand up to them in no uncertain terms without fear of retribution.

A Course in Miracles

marianne, a course in miracles

Have you heard of A Course in Miracles? If you’ve read Marianne Williamson, you know she took the Course and writes about it a lot. Basically it is a re-programming of everything you thought you knew. It tells you in a nutshell that everything you know is false. The Course consists of one lesson every day for a year, it is FREE online, and I’m only on Day 8 and already I’ve been brought to my knees by its earth-shattering-ness.

Day 8 says “My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.” That means every thought you have is filtered through your past experience. You give it meaning based on what has happened to you in the past. For example when I think of men I think “predators”. Yes, I know that’s scary and it’s based on my past experience with certain among them. If I can look at every man as though he’s the first one I’m seeing and without my thoughts about the past I can have a whole new relationship with them. That’s exciting. I was wondering if I would ever overcome my distrust of men and this program might help.

The past ten and a half months without sex has been an ego-shrinking experience. It’s helped me look at my motivations (mostly fear) and learn how to tell the absolute truth about everything especially to myself. I’m working hard to free myself of these bad feelings about men and stop thinking of them as the enemy. I have some hope that this Course can help because its basis so far, that everything we think is based on past ideas, is true for me about men. If I can learn to let go of those old experiences and just be in the present I might have a chance of seeing men in a new light.

If you want to take the Course, too, click HERE.

Men and women are different

christian, god, sex, abstinence, relationship, men, women, feminism

I was expressing to my friend today my ongoing resentments toward men that I’m working on. I’ve gotten past the point where I blame men for my resentment against them. I realize it’s my problem and the only person I can control is myself. I can’t stop men from looking at me or making comments at me but I can learn how to respond with dignity and to treat men in a way the honours them rather than disrespects them.

She said I have to remember that men have it hard, too. I didn’t understand: in my mind men are always the winners; this is their world, how do they have it hard? She said that while women want to be loved and cherished, men yearn to be respected and admired and they’ve had that taken away from them. She said the only desire they have left that can be fulfilled is sex and that’s why it’s become such a preoccupation in modern society.

I was stunned and had to admit her theory made a lot of sense. I think about how adamant I am that men should do the asking out and pick the place and pay for dinner, especially on the first date. I want to be taken care of and protected and my friend says that’s exactly what men are programmed to do for us, the way God made them, but they’re not allowed to anymore. In a sense they’ve been emasculated. It’s always felt right to me to want a man I can look up to and admire and to be adored in return. It’s not about equality, it’s about complementary. We are different, not equal, and we get into trouble when we try to pretend otherwise.

Conversations With God

sex, abstinence, celibate, seven deadly sins

A while ago I asked God to help me stop being distracted by feelings of lust. It took a long time and has been very frustrating because no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t stop looking at men (and one man in particular) in that way. Then I read something Neale Donald Walsh said (he wrote Conversations With God): that being attached to nothing is the source of his happiness. I realized my feelings of lust toward the man in my social circle were somehow based on attachment to hopes about a particular outcome, namely, of us ending up together.

Being attached to something like that can lead you to become manipulative so you can orchestrate the result you have set in your mind. It gets in the way of what God might have planned for you because you are taking control of the situation rather than letting God do his work 🙂 When I understood that happiness comes when you stop being attached to outcomes, the lust seemed to disappear and all of a sudden I just wished the best for this person and had no designs on “ownership” of him or his heart.

I think lust excludes the object of your affection (ironically). It kind of removes their humanity and reduces them to an object or a puppet in your little play called Life. Now that I finally understand that I hope I’ve got this lust thing beat.

Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 3:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Adele Rolling in the Deep

I can’t get this haunting song out of my head! The gifted Adele gives me goosebumps with her voice and the lyrics which tell the timeless story of a woman scorned are so dark and wonderful, kinda like a revenge fantasy. Here they are if you can’t make them out in the audio:

There’s a fire starting in my heart,
Reaching a fever pitch and it’s bringing me out the dark.
Finally, I can see you crystal clear,
Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your ship bare,
See how I’ll leave with every piece of you,
Don’t underestimate the things that I will do.

There’s a fire starting in my heart,
Reaching a fever pitch and it’s bring me out the dark.

The scars of your love remind me of us,
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all.
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless,
I can’t help feeling,

We could have had it all,
Rolling in the deep,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside of your hand,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
And you played it to the beat.
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)

Baby, I have no story to be told,
But I’ve heard one on you and I’m gonna make your head burn,
Think of me in the depths of your despair,
Making a home down there as mine sure won’t be shared,

The scars of your love remind me of us,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all.
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
I can’t help feeling,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)

We could have had it all,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
Rolling in the deep.
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside of your hand,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
And you played it to the beat.
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)

Could have had it all,
Rolling in the deep,
You had my heart inside of your hand,
But you played it with a beating.

Throw your soul through every open door,
Count your blessings to find what you look for.
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold,
You’ll pay me back in kind and reap just what you’ve sown.

Fairy Tales and Prince Charming

sex, abstinence, celibate year, singe woman, dating, men, women

My friend was lamenting the fact that maybe the fairy tale wouldn’t come true for her. We were talking about my celibate year and how it’s changed my relationship with men. Ironically so, because for the first time I’m not in a relationship with a man. What I mean is I’ve stopped living life “in the meantime”. I believed when I stopped having sex ten months ago that I was preparing myself for the relationship that would magically appear at the end of a year. I figured as soon as I was finished with my little experiment, the perfect relationship would be waiting for me.

Now I understand that staying away from men was not preparing me for another man (how did that ever make sense?) but helping me develop a relationship with myself and God and understanding that I have everything I need. Nothing is missing from my life because I don’t have a partner. Life is not about checking things off the list like Job, House, Kids, Man; it’s about embracing what you have right now and being enchanted by the beauty in every moment.

Maybe that sounds a little corny but I can’t see any reason why a boyfriend would make me happier at this point, besides sex. And I’ve vowed to hold off on sex for a good long time after meeting someone anyway, so that urge would remain unfulfilled. I’m having the best time right now enhancing my spiritual life and enriching the relationships I have already with friends and family and, of course, with myself. I’m working on loving and adoring and being grateful for everything I have right now. And knowing I need nothing else to make me happy.

Boston Bruins’ wives at Stanley Cup final

I was watching the last part of the Stanley Cup final tonight and the camera kept focusing on two of the Boston Bruins’ wives. One of them was what I think of as a typical trophy wife – perfect hair, make-up, outfit, and reserved behaviour. I was surprised and refreshed to see the other wife (of goalie Tim Thomas) in a plain grey t-shirt, hair loosely pulled back, and minimal, if any, make-up. She was relaxed and comfortable, completely unselfconscious. I had never seen a hockey player’s wife looking so unaffected at a Stanley Cup game!

stanley cup final, hockey game, hockey player, hockey wives, boston bruins, vancouver canucks, sex, abstinence, celibacy

The reason I bring this up is I used to look like Wife #1. My appearance was ultra-important to me: I felt I had to look and act perfect to even have the right to take up space in public! I had little self-confidence so I highlighted my appearance to detract from what I felt was lacking inside. As I travel on this journey of celibacy I am becoming more like Wife #2. I don’t wear make-up all the time, often pull my hair back rather than style it, and wear what feels comfortable rather than what looks “hot”. I’m a fairly active person, so a more relaxed look suits my lifestyle better as well.

I also realize that if I want to be valued for something more than my looks I have to stop paying so much attention to my appearance. If I want someone to love me for my inside rather than my outside I need to spend more time developing and showcasing my inner beauty rather than concentrating on the outer facade.

Gene Simmons, Shannon Tweed Family Jewels

Lots of online talk about the Tweed-Simmons union possibly being on the rocks, or even over, after 26 years. Not sure if they are acting to increase ratings to the show, but I do know Gene has cultivated an image of being a champion philanderer who’s had sex with thousands of women while Shannon has believed him to be faithful.

“We do not have an open relationship,” Shannon has insisted and Gene continues to insist publicly that they do. She says he is all talk and that she is his one and only. If the current drama between the two is true, it would seem he has not been as loyal as she had believed.

What do you think? Is this all an act and they continue to enjoy a monogamous non-marriage? And what do you think about the fact that they never married? Does marriage make a person more faithful? Men? Leave a comment.

Controlling behaviour and self-esteem

sex, abstinence, celibate

Today, the topic on Baggage Reclaim, my favourite relationship blog, was controlling behaviour. Being controlling is trying to manipulate the actions of the people around you to make you feel better about yourself. It’s done by people who look to others to validate them, whose self-esteem is affected by the behaviour of others toward them. For instance, if a guy calls you your self-esteem rises; when he ignores you it plummets. You’re not built on a solid foundation when your self-worth can be so influenced by what someone else thinks of you.

I used to look to men to validate me. When I first became celibate, I thought I would disappear without the attention of men. I didn’t know if I would physically die (although I thought that was possible) but I did not see how I would exist if I didn’t have a man to tell me I was pretty and dote on me, etc. Now that I’ve been on my own for ten months and I’ve had a chance to develop a little bit of self-worth and recognize that I certainly don’t need men to validate me, I can’t believe I used to be so reliant on what men thought of me.

My happiness and self-esteem did rise and fall according to how often some random man called me. I didn’t like that feeling but I didn’t know any other way. I simply couldn’t believe that I was enough on my own. If he went cold, I would try to figure out what I did wrong, beat myself up about it, and of course never think “it wasn’t meant to be” or “poor guy, he doesn’t know what he missed”. There was a sense of me forcing (controlling) every situation and there wasn’t much fun in it.

As I approach the one-year mark of this journey of sexual abstinence, I’m getting closer to feeling truly whole on my own, closer to the feeling that a man would add something nice but is not a necessary ingredient to my life. I feel as though I need to be in the position where I could “take it or leave it” when it comes to a man because I am so satisfied with my life as it is. I’m almost there.