One in Four – A Walk through Shadow and Flame

According to statistics, one in four children in the US have been sexually molested. I don’t know what the statistics are in other parts of the country, but that is a big number. It means that every fourth person you meet has been in some way or other, sexually taken advantage of. I don’t know what the statistics are in Malaysia or in the UK where it happened to me but it could be similar. And yes, it did happen to me.

This was 29 years ago, when parents thought that the world was a safe place and that you could allow children to play securely and innocently. He was an acquaintance of my mother’s, someone she was taking a course with in Manchester, UK. It was already a rough time, as my father had sent me to my mother along with a letter that he was leaving her for a younger woman. She was devastated and I was confused.

How does a six year old even begin to describe the situation? It was a public place, and there was no pain involved but something about the situation didn’t feel right. I couldn’t even find the words to say what had happened and my mother was already upset, so I kept it quiet. Keeping it quiet however, did not mean that nothing manifested of it.

I’ve lived my life panicking every time a man stands too close behind me, and when a man assists me in child’s pose, my initial reaction is to stop breathing and freeze up until the message gets to my brain that I know the person and that it is OK to relax. It took me years to get used to the assist in downward facing dog where someone grabs you from the hips and pulls you back. Even now, there are only a few men I can relax into the assist with and I am extremely sensitive to the intention behind the touch.

It was never spoken of, but it has always been somewhere in the shadows.

And it wasn’t until two years ago that I had a vivid memory of the experience. My abuser had come from behind and he wasn’t rough, but he did touch me in an inappropriate way. A child might not know it in their mind, but children are sensitive receptors of touch. It was a lucky thing that there were other people around on the other side of the room or it could have been worse. I wanted to look out the window and he carried me until I could see. It was subtle but I did feel violated.

The event has been playing in the back of my mind for all this time.

‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears,’ old Buddhist proverb.

And so I must have been ready as the right teacher appeared. She had been through a worse experience than I had, relived the memory and come out the other side. I remember being in her class over a year ago, and the feelings surrounding the situation for me came up. Even from the first class, she noticed that I had trouble connecting to my sacrum and was coaxing me to bring breath into the area. It has been a slow process and part of the thing that made is so was my fear to face the assault.

It takes a lot to face these things but last Wednesday, something clicked. Ana Forrest, my beautiful teacher coaxed us to go on a quest towards identifying the blockages that keep us from being whole. In case of a traumatic event, a part of you remains in that time until you go back and free them. Ana said the magic words, telling us that the worst was over. We had survived and we were alive.

That, I think was what did it for me. I decided at the beginning of class that I would chase this fucker down so he could have less power over me. That intention must have been potent because even from the beginning as I was bringing breath down to my sacrum and pelvic area, the tremors began. They continued through core work and most of the class. Finally, when we got into Shavasana, they took over, wrecking my entire body and causing me to panic to the point of not being able to breathe. Luckily Claire, Ana’s assistant, lovingly stayed with me, gently touching my head and cueing me to keep breathing. As soon as we were out of Shavasana, I was a sobbing wreck.

It did not finish there.

Through the day, when I got home, I would sit down, start breathing into my sacrum and the shaking would start followed by sobs. Emotionally, I had to revisit that time of being confused, scared and betrayed. That feeling of being left alone overtook me, and most of all were the very strong feelings that as this was happening to me, my father, the one who was meant to flex his muscles (he was an ex footie player) and protect me was busy starting a new romance. He had let me down, and that’s where my belief that men leave you when you’re weak started.

There were some positives to it though. I was finally able to speak to my mother about it and gave the six year old a voice. She has been a rock through these times. She continues to be amazing, caring, calling me and supportive in my determination to get through this. She’s stuck through me in my crazy quest and called every day since.

We women are so much stronger in our compassion than we give ourselves credit for.

On Thursday I went back. The tremors started early, and towards the end, we were in a compromising Frog pose with a big roll under our bellies. That’s when they fully took over my body. A big part of me wanted to leave the pose and run out of the room. Another part of me was absolutely adamant to chase this fucker out of my body. Ana stayed with me through almost all five minutes of the tormenting ordeal where there were moments when I truly believed that I might die.

But I didn’t and here I am.

I’ve been a gaping wound all week. The memories, and the feelings surrounding them rise and fall like waves. They take over me and I am a shaking mess all over again. Sleep has been sometimes easy but most of the time not. I’ve had nightmares and gone to some really dark places in my mind, but as much as it scares me, I don’t want to put a temporary salve on this.

This will be a tough ride but I want to live my life fully so I am choosing to go through this. The other option is to live my life behind a safe wall where ‘fine’ and ‘comfortable’ are good enough. They are really not so I am living the days occasionally getting thrown into my past knowing that only by facing the nightmares will I be able to shine light on them.

The first 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training I did, I was recovering from a breakup. This time, I will be so much more vulnerable as I head into another time of big change. Sometimes though, it is in times of darkness like these that you learn to find your own light. I could bury it and stick a positive affirmation on it, but that’s not where the work is done. There is greatness and magic in the world however, as what you need always gets provided to you. In my case, I have a strong and loving bond with my family even though they are far away, a generous and solid community that holds me in their arms, wonderful friends and a nuturing yoga practice.

I am also taking steps to protect myself now. Where I would spread my love without fear of backlash before, right now, I am a bit more cautious. Where I see threat of unnecessary hurt, I step back. Some friends will taper away. This is when you know the ones who are leeching on your life force, the ones who only want you when you are light and easy. If you have a partner, this is when you know a weak person from a strong one.

It is a process of riding the waves day by day, and a transformation through fire. At the other side awaits a stronger person with more compassion and so much more love for self and others.0c136b5c56fd13046766ee65c4826572-d6ha2cv



In 2012, a few months before I went into my first 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, I made a radical decision. I decided that for a year, I would observe Brahmacharya. Named for the state of searching for the ‘Great One, Supreme Reality, or Self,’ Brahmacharya is one of the five Yamas according to Yogic texts. In Vedic traditions in refers to the state of celibacy one chooses during the life stage of being an unmarried student and fidelity when married. In modern times, it is better known as a state of being sexually responsible. In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Monks practice Brahmacharya their whole lives as it is considered necessary for their spiritual practice.

It wasn’t a decision that required a lot of consideration on my end. I loved the sound of the word, ‘Bharmacharya,’ and something about doing it felt completely right. I chose the more strict sense of the word, not only refraining from the sexual act, but also anything that could lead to it including kissing, extreme alcohol consumption and situations where I am alone with a man I am attracted to in a private setting.

As soon as I had decided on it, it was like I had donned a veil that made me sexually invisible. There was a sense of liberation in being able to let it go and practice my Yoga, learn my texts and most of all, learn more about myself. Once I had taken the whole dynamic out of the picture, I found a lot of freedom. I learned to walk in my own skin without trying to gather the attention or to please a dominant male figure.

A lot came up in that time but once the year was up, and as I was ready to lift the veil, my beloved father passed away. Now that opened up a whole other can of worms and Brahmacharya was extended. The relationship between a daughter and a father is always something pretty amazing. My father, no matter what he did was my hero. Whenever he was in a room, his was the only presence that mattered to me. We had our ups and downs of course. When we disagreed there were so many strong emotions running around that the charge was palpable. It was the love that was also the double-edged sword. When he hurt me, I would lash out as strongly but the love was so deep that when I hurt him, it was akin to taking a knife to my own heart.

My father was a bit of a narcissist in that he never saw how his actions hurt the people who loved him. Growing up I was used to him getting distracted either with a new relationship, a new love interest or a new work venture and he would disappear during those times. Those were the days when he didn’t return my calls, or was simply not available. Then when the thing that had his interest for the moment went to shits or he got bored of it, he would be back and I would welcome him. It hurt like hell but I was young not to see the cruelty and selfishness in it so it became the norm.

When he passed, the patterns that I had carried on from my relationship with him to my relationship with other men came to light. Of course, I never loved anyone quite as strongly. How could you love an employer, friend or lover as much as you love your own father? Not even close. But I did notice that in my relationships with men, I had been willing to accept a degree of cruelty. I’m not saying that the men in my life have been cruel, not all of them anyway, but there have been acts of cruelty that I had previously quickly forgiven and even sometimes apologised for.  In doing so, I had been cruel to myself and reaffirming the belief that I was not worthy and therefore it was my responsibility to hold things together.  That was a pretty big one to see and a bigger one to disprove.  Thanks goodness for the friends who see your light even when you can’t.

There is something to be said for not being in a romantic relationship and seeing these patterns. I haven’t been a monk where emotions are concerned. Of course, I’ve had crushes and emotional interests but the commitment to my practice has held me from getting into going forward with a relationship. I had nothing to lose. I’d spent my entire twenties almost continuously in long-term relationships. The thing is, when you are in one, you’re so caught up in the highs and lows of it that you can’t step back and say, ‘wait a minute, here’s that behaviour that I am repeating.’ I’m not saying the change is immediate but like with everything else, you have to notice the pattern to change how you act to it. That has been my greatest lesson.

I have many lessons to learn, I’m sure, but it has been three years and eight months since I committed to a state of learning these lessons on my own. This has in a way become a crutch to save myself from complications and the possibility of pain, but what is life without some complication. It might be time to opening myself to lessons that involve another dynamic now.

In about two weeks, I enter into my second 200 Yoga Teacher Training. The main teacher, the amazing Shiva Rea is a true Tantrist. This time instead of slow assimilation to practice, it will be a month away in an insulated situation, but once the month is done, I think it is time I consciously lift the veil of Brahmacharya that I’ve been wearing all this time.

To victory in facing fears, taking risks and standing in the discomfort of the fire until change is ready to happen. Jai!

My Soul Mate is a Fucking Unicorn

Just like a lot of people, I have spent my life searching for a soul mate.  Well probably not my entire life, but a significant amount of time. Somewhere in my mind, I thought that I would not be a complete person until I had found this magical being.  This was the person who was meant to love me unconditionally, and from that love prompt me to become a better person. To borrow from Jerry MaGuire this person was meant to, “complete me,” so from the age of 21 until the age of 31, I was either in constant pursuit of, trying to turn the person I was with into this special being or trying to transform myself to fit in with this individual.  Not to say that my time was completely wasted.  I met many special persons.  I didn’t however, find the man equivalent of a magical unicorn as the stories said I would.

There was a major flaw in this big plan of mine. Actually there were many major flaws but the biggest one was that I had been looking for something external in order to justify my life.  Nothing had been fixed and instead of being complete, I was like a jigsaw puzzle that had been scattered to the four winds. A change of tactics was needed, an exploration into the unknown and unfamiliar.  So from the end of 2011 until present time, for the first time in over 10 years I had chosen to hang up my stilettos and take myself completely out of THE equation.  That’s right, a complete Man Ban.  Of course my family thinks I’m insane because you know, the clock is ticking and all that jazz, and my friends have spent the year holding their breaths waiting for me to either combust or explode from lack of “yang.”

It was time that I created some space.  You see, I’m slightly insane in that I tend to gravitate to people who are going through a hard time or people who can shift any conversation to being about them. Of course it’s because I care, but there is also a part of it that stems from me having no idea of how to talk about my stuff and finding it easier to focus on other people’s stuff.  And yes, I did only find this out after I had created said space.  For the first time, in well, ever, I spent most of the year focused on me. I’m pretty sure the universe was working with me on this one as there were minimal family visits and dramas, and minimal crisis friend support needed.

What I didn’t realise was that once I had taken myself out of THE equation my attention would be focused solely on MY equation.

You know how sometimes, you just put things off because dealing with them would be too hard? Like when you hold on to a relationship that’s sunk deeper than the Titanic because it’s less time consuming and messy than dealing with a breakup.  Think that, except I was dealing with residual rubbish from my parents’ breakup and other shit that I had been carrying around for ages. Also I was busy chasing THE Dream as I’ve written about before: Yup, I have become quite the expert in making myself very busy.

The year turned out to be a personally very interesting one to say the least. Lacking any other person or structure to hold up, (I had also decided that keeping the company running was not my personal duty and that I could go home and have a life) I spent a lot of time working on my personal journey.  Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. In fact, most of it was not.  It was an amazing ride, and starting over from square one was exactly how one of my teachers would describe an essentials (beginners for non-yogis) yoga class – simple, but not easy.

There was a considerable lot of time spent dealing with the shit under the bridge, except it wasn’t really under the bridge.  Some of the shit I am still working with, some wounds I have just left alone knowing they will heal when they are ready, and some others I have just let go of.  We all have shit under the bridge, which at some point we will have to look at before it actually drowns the entire fucking bridge, so good thing this year happened or I would be drowned in shit while crossing over.  Worse still, I could have had children and drowned them in shit.  Sadly, I don’t agree with my parents that one should have children because time is running out and all else will take care of itself.  It is a responsibility and one that should be taken seriously.  The world has enough fucked up people.

Then there was the reevaluating of what I wanted in life. Not surprisingly, what I wanted has changed, which is fine, but you also have to give yourself time to absorb that what you want has changed and learn to be ok with it.  It’s so easy to go into a long story of how time has been wasted and you’re getting old and whatever else, so having time to process is always a great thing, and then of course, time is needed to let go of the things that don’t serve this journey anymore.

It’s been a tough gig this business of dealing with myself. My views on myself were challenged, and somewhat altered.  One person saw right through every barrier I had and went for my heart.  A difficult thing if you’re used to shifting the focus to the person you’re with in order for them not to see you.  Strangely enough, this did not come from a lover, but someone I love.

Among other things, I’ve come to the realization that breaking down physical barriers is no longer enough when the emotional and mental barriers still stand.  For the simple minded – sex, on its own is no longer enough.  Pleasure need not be an expensive pursuit.  Simplicity is beautiful.  Hug as often as possible.  Being alive is no longer enough without living.  And this one from the beautiful Meriana, “there is a thin line between self awareness and self absorbtion,” so at some point, you need to get your head out of your ass and just be cool with things.  To need someone else to make you a better person is to just have a scape goat to blame should you fuck up. You’ll fuck up sometimes anyway, so just be ok with it. One doesn’t need a barrier of alcohol to just dance like hell is coming tomorrow.  Sometimes people see in you more than you see in yourself, and they are right.  The fact that I’m a certified yoga instructor says it all.

And soul mates? Well, these are the people who are just there for you.  They are the ones you can have a chat with and stop mid-conversation only to continue the conversation when you meet again no matter if it’s five minutes, five days, or five years in the future.  You get to know these people over and over and over again, but your real knowledge of them is eternal and buried under the hugs and the words.  These are the people you meet, family, friends, teachers and lovers, and in my case, yoga, on your way to your one eternal soul mate. Sometimes they stay in your lives forever, and sometimes they merely pay it a visit.

In my case, there never should have been a search for a soul mate.  All I needed to do was just stop and sit still – the one eternal soul mate is, and always will be the Self, because let’s deal with it; you’re a fucking unicorn, and so am I.


Mutual Masturbation

They met over a cigarette in the early hours of the morning. Both having had too much to drink, wanting to escape the noise of the pub but not wanting to go alone. After a short chat, and with whoops of encouragement from his friends, they left together. And what happened next was as to be expected.

The next morning, he wakes up and looks at the woman next to him, her hair spread over the pillow in a familiar way. For a moment, just one moment, he is filled with hope. Could it be? Is it her? Then she stirs, turns around and his heart sinks as he remembers the fumbles of the night before.  Awkwardly they both get out of bed. What was her name again? Should he offer her a cup of coffee? Breakfast? He just wants her to leave. As often as this has happened, he is never sure of what to do the next morning.

She gathers her clothes, getting ready to leave. The nice thing to do would be to ask for her number, but they both know that whatever made last night happen, it was not their interest in each other. Silently she dresses. Regret. She wanted something, but not this. She stands at the door, perhaps waiting for him to ask her to stay. He doesn’t. And the truth is, she doesn’t want to either. In the morning light, the chemistry of last night is gone.

He sits in silence once she leaves, and another girl comes to mind. A memory from the past. A smile like summer sunlight. A smile that he took away. A girl wish so much passion, who took every emotion into her, or rather, she stepped into the emotions.  Without fear. Without doubt.  She had made love to him with every breath, even when he was not with her.  She didn’t say much, but with one look, she could say everything.  She had loved him in a way that he could not understand then, with so much trust and so much faith. What did he do? He tried as hard as he could to not deserve her love.  One day he succeeded.

This morning, he wondered where she was. Was she happy? What was she doing? He always thought that she had to learn to live without him, but now, a few years later, he realises that the harder thing for her to learn was to live with him. She made it look so easy, like breathing, like how she just made things happen. Now he sees that it was never easy, not for her.

And he thinks now of last night. What had happened? Had they made love? No. Was it even sex? He had his eyes closed the whole time. She could have been anyone and he wouldn’t have cared. Did she care who he was? As painful as it was for him to admit, he knew she didn’t. All he wanted was to wash this stranger’s smell of his sheets. When he speaks to his friends, he will be “the man.” Hey, she wasn’t awful looking, even this morning, all hungover with her makeup smeared. And that’s what really matters isn’t it? What his friends think. As long as they think he’s over HER, he will be a man. What does it matter if it was making love, or sex, or just  two drunk people filling emptiness with mutual masturbation.


Life taught me a lot of things, but she never taught me how to play games. Not that she didn’t play games, she did. The whole game where she pulls away when I don’t want to do what she wants, the silent treatments, consciously or not, she did it.  The problem is that I never learned, and I don’t understand the need to do so.  So in a world of rules and games, my dating life has never been smooth.

You see, I don’t understand dating and the games people play. What is this thing about waiting three days to call? What is the three date rule? Unless you’ve already done the deed and met when you woke up on his arm, or if it’s a friend you’ve known for a while who asks you out, isn’t three dates a little soon? Plus all these other things that come later in the relationship that I don’t get.  The whole idea of letting someone hang around to validate your own self worth when you’re not really interested, to me, is selfish and childish. The whole “I’ll wait for him/her to call, so that it looks like he/she is chasing me,” is a waste of time and the idea of just being there without giving it much effort, is just exhausting.  Maybe I am naïve, but really, I don’t understand how matters of the heart need rules.

The dating world is such a jungle it’s almost as bad as the corporate world. And to be honest, it really is like the trying to get a job. The first date is the preliminary interview, and then sometimes there’s a second and third date. Once you get through that, you’re on probation, and if within three months it doesn’t work out, it’s time to let go.  Games are played all the time, and as much as we don’t want to believe it, “treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen,” is very much practiced. Hard work. Then there are lies, cheating, abuse, and sometimes, I just don’t think it’s worth it anymore.  Being only a 15 year veteran, I think I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg in this field and if that’s all there is to it, I’m throwing in the towel.

Perhaps I’m bitter. Perhaps I’m tired. Perhaps, I just can’t keep up with the rules and whatnots.  But perhaps I’m not the only one who feels this way. A friend and I had a conversation late last year. We are both women in our 30’s, just having ended long term relationships. Both of us have jobs, a pretty set social life and were both on the way to changing our lifestyles to what we wanted them to be.  However, when we started speaking about dating, both of us were doubtful about going back into the field.

Yes, were out of practice. We also did not get what was going on. Both of us live in big cities (she in London and me in Sydney), where the dating life seems to revolve around meat market type pubs, and more often than not involve meeting someone while we had beer goggles on.  Then of course, we’d have to be savvy enough to know the difference between a real call and a booty call. Almost a year later, we’re both still trying to get our heads around it.  Needless to say, it’s been a journey, further complicated by the fact that my lifestyle choices meant that pubs and bars are no longer places much frequented.

Is the other choice online dating?

Yes, well, I know a lot of people who met online. Quite a few went into long term relationships. However, after a short stint, I’ve decided that it’s not for me.  As much as the convenience of meeting someone from your couch appeals, I like the idea of letting nature choose. I’m not going to go deep into it, but I feel that dating is only the prerequisite to mating, and to mate, I feel like the whole pheromone/testosterone/chemical/immune system thing has to be in action.  See where I’m coming from?

Friends who are married with kids, or even shy friends think they can live precariously through me.  How wrong they are.  Sitting at home with the cat somehow appeals more than “pulling.” Honestly, even thinking about it exhausts me. Add to that I live in a city that has more of a hookup culture than a dating culture, and I find first dates an awkward test on my sensibility anyway.  So where does one start, or rather where does one head to when the place where one started is just not working out anymore?

Pub Snub

This year I participated in Dry July, it’s a charity event held where individuals give up alcohol for a month and other people donate to show their support. A campaign like this just proves how big a part alcohol plays in the Australian social life, and perhaps a lot of social lives.  Coming here from another country, what jumps out at me is the binge drinking that goes on.  While I was used to the idea of having a glass of wine with dinner, the whole pub culture here was new to me. Of course, I got into it.  Throughout my Masters’ and my first job after, I was drinking quite heavily from Thursday nights through to Saturday night, and having a nip here and there during the week. It was great fun, and I can’t remember a lot of those few years.  Then I changed, so things changed.

In this culture, while everyone is dieting and going to gyms, the alcohol consumption remains high.  My office, probably not unlike other offices, is quite health conscious with all the diets and “healthy eating,” that goes around.   However, like other offices, Friday drinks are the norm, and for some, they go on until Saturday morning.

I have come to realise that if you don’t drink, your social life is somewhat limited. Personally, I have gone through situations where I get strange looks for not wanting to drink, or when someone tries to talk me into having one.  A friend of mine has been called “no fun,” because she didn’t want to have a drink on a particular night.  In a community that values freedom so much, it seems that it only applies to the freedom to drink, and other traditionally “questionable,” acts. When someone chooses not to participate, one is not viewed in a positive light.

Why the high alcohol intake though? Have we lost the capability to have fun and connect with people without stimulants? Or perhaps it’s just as easy as having limited choices of things to do.  Sure you could go to the theatre, opera or musical show on a night out, but you’d be one of the minority not drinking. Also, for the single, if you’re not at a bar or pub, where will you meet people? If you’re not drinking, believe me, your tolerance for drunken babble is greatly diminished.  That hot guy greatly loses his appeal with each alcoholic breath he breathes on you.

During the time of James Dean, a “cool” person would be smoking a cigarette. Nowadays, cigarettes have been phased out, health risks and smell making them uncool.  Drinking is still cool. “I can drink for three days and not get drunk,” says this person in a bragging manner, and “I don’t get hangovers anymore,” says another person in the same tone.  Is it really something to brag about? Sometimes people might not notice, but words have power, statements like, “I need a drink,” are pretty common, and the question is although you want it, do you really need it?

It’s a personal choice, but for me, what happened was that I gave it up first for 60 days.  Originally, I thought it would be easy, but the first two weeks were really difficult.  It was only then that I discovered how much I depended on alcohol to de-stress, to sleep, and to have fun.  It was a period of self reflection. The whole process was an eye opener, but a much needed one. As a result, my entire social life changed. No longer did I make “friends” in pubs. Drinks became dinners, and without a hangover, I could go out on Saturday and Sunday mornings. And believe me, without the weekly drinking, you do end up having a lot more cash for other things.  It’s true however, that not everyone will support you. Sometimes, you lose people, but that’s how it works as you move from one phase of life to another.

At the end of the day though, it does take a bit of self enquiry and being completely truthful to yourself.  If you like an odd drink here and there, there really are no warning bells.  But if you are not capable of socialising/can’t sleep/find it hard to get drunk/lose entire weekends to hangovers/don’t remember nights out, then maybe, just maybe, think about it.  This is a health question.  Is the whole reason you watch what you eat or go to the gym five times a week just so that you can look good when you go to the pub?

Sober Sex?

A few weeks back, a few friends and I decided to meet for dinner. As usual when a group of girls get together, the topic of sex comes up.  What’s a dinner when there aren’t discussions about who’s currently doing whom? The discussion went round to first time sex with new partners, and how nine times out of ten, that first romp would include alcohol.  For some, that first alcoholic romp occured the first time they meet their partners even.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong, or right, or anything at all. People meet in many different ways.  I’m just putting it out there. We treat sex like its just part of life. In fact, those who do not include sex in their need for basic survival, we psychoanalyze to pieces – oh she’s been abused/hurt/still in love with her ex/unbalanced second chakra/physically unhealthy/ugly so on and so forth.  Yet for all our talk, we proceed to drink ourselves silly when we see a potential partner in the bar/pub/races.  If we meet them somewhere without alcohol, we invite them out to drinks or dinner, with drinks included.

Could it be that with all our talk on how sex is a necessity/way to unwind/part of life that we do in fact find sex with someone new too confronting? Or could it be that like everything else we do in life (dinner/dancing/movies), we need some sort of stimulant in order to enjoy it? Alcohol, as we know is the commonly accepted drug widely used as an emotional shied and a mood enhancer.  And sex, first time sex with someone, can be a confronting, uncomfortable and awkward event (or non-event).  It’s never like it is in the movies, and sadly enough, no amount of alcohol can make it so.

Sex has the potential of being a very “in your face” experience. And let’s face it, a lot of times, when we move the relationship to that arena, we really do not know this person well enough to be comfortable staring into their eyes dead sober while our bodies are as close as two entities can get.  I don’t know what to do when a man stares at me from across the room, let alone when his face is three inches from mine. Something is needed to take the edge off the experience.

We can handle physical contact, and we can handle emotional contact, but what happens when there is the opportunity to have both at the same go? What happens when someone is close enough to feel you and see how you really feel? Is it too much? Do we have drunken sex to hide how much we care or do we have it because we do not care enough? Is alcohol our way of getting the physical release and affection without having to give emotionally?

There are a lot of questions and not enough answers, but what will you do when he’s standing right next to you, desire emanating from both of you, and there is no drink in sight? Will you go into this challenging confronting vortex of awkwardness or will you hold off until you can have a drink to dull things down? Or are you ready to face sex with all your boundaries down and nothing to cloud your senses? Are you ready to be uncomfortable and awkward, and to let someone into more than your physical space?

Pleasure and Meaning

Taking my own photo during a 5 minute break – meaning?

Today, I am at the EA PA Forum (I’m a Conference Producer by profession) where, one of the speakers made a point about pleasure and meaning. According to her studies, we have become a pleasure seeking society, but on the flip side, the pleasure we seek often lacks meaning. In Sydney apparently, the main pleasure seeking channel is cocaine. Well it is, for those who can afford it, the ones we are conditioned to think of as being “successful.” Unfortunately, as one of my beloved Gurus, Michael Ross would say “what goes in must come out and sometimes it hurts when it comes out.”
Listening to this today, I wonder if this speaker is right. Have we got more pleasure in our lives but less meaning? And why do we need extra substances to find pleasure? As children, didn’t the simplest thing fill us with pleasure? When did we lose it? I say we because I am not an island in this case. How bad was I? Well, I’ll share this – the first time my last partner wanted me to meet his friends was for a movie. I flat out refused, and honestly said that I couldn’t meet new people while I was sober. That’s how bad it was.
I thought I was bad, but I know people who need weed when they have to go out and meet people. Meeting people, socialising, a thing that should be pleasurable for us as social creatures, has become something we can’t do without stimulants. So we have alcohol, and drugs, to facilitate meeting 50 people a night. We add them to our Facebook and LinkedIn accounts via our mobile phones right then and there. We promise to catch up for drinks, which we do, when one of us needs something from the other. However, while we are high on some form of stimulant or another, what do we remember of these meetings? Or does it not matter as long as we remember their distinguished job titles? Is the meaning of our lives made out of the most expensive bottle of champagne and the job titles of the people we know?
Currently, I am also reading a book written by Michelle Berman Marchildon entitled “Finding More on the Mat.” Yes, the book speaks about her yoga journey, but she also speaks briefly about how she suffered from post-natal depression and was on anti-depressants. Michelle speaks about how she gave up the anti-depressants because although they stopped the depression, they also made her numb.
Thinking back to the days when I was a stimulant junkie, I remember the part of me that was seeking pleasure, but there was also the part of me that was avoiding pain. What did I find out? Well, for one thing, Michael was right, and sometimes when your body is trying to push out the things that don’t belong there, it hurts, not just physically, but emotionally as well. For another thing, there is something bigger than you, and this thing wants balance. Extreme pleasure is balanced off by extreme displeasure. Some people just live through the displeasure and discomfort, and move on, but others hold it off by adding more stimulants, and more, and more after that. Then one day, you take it all away and the world comes crashing down.
I would love to lead a meaningful life. By that I don’t mean I’m going to get everyone into a debate about the meaning of life. From my elders I have learned that life is pleasure and pain. Life is nothing without feeling. I’m not the kind of person who jumps off planes or rides rollercoasters (I found out the hard way when I got off a rollercoaster and ended up riding the porcelain bus the next half hour), but one thing I would like to work on is to be brave enough to feel. Not feeling things superficially, but really feeling things, and not limiting my feelings to pleasure, but expanding them to include sadness, anger and pain. Hopefully, someday I will be brave enough to let go of my pursuit of pleasure and just feel everything. Why? Because yin without yang creates nothing, light without darkness is not light and pleasure without displeasure is a journey of emptiness.
Some questions that remain; Where are we now as a society? Where is our pursuit of pleasure leading us? What will we do for the pursuit of pleasure? And most of all, where is our conscience? When all the drugs are gone and the parties are done, when there is only silence, how well do we know the people in our lives? And most of all, while our brains are engaged and we’re in the who’s who of social circles, in silence, are we at peace with ourselves? I know I am not, not 100% but hopefully someday I’ll get there.