Passion Play

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You have rekindled this fire inside me
And now I am burning, BURNING!So much so
That if I stepped into a stream,
The waters would carry this fire.
And all the oceans in the world
Would be set
ABLAZE!
With this mad passion.

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When My Femininity Came Knocking

For over two years now, I have been single and celibate, not so much as kissing a man in that time.  Somehow, it is the celibate part that gets attention more than the single part.  Somehow, it has become ‘unhealthy,’ and I am denying myself ‘the expression of my femininity,’ like sex can somehow make one feel more like a woman than any other thing in the world.  Sometimes I believe these ideas that have been cast upon me by other people.   And sometimes, when I have spent four days in spandex (not the same pieces for all four days of course), and I’m covered sweat yet again, both my own, and other people’s, I do have moments when I feel a bit less than feminine.

So it was nice to put on a dress and heels, and catch a random man cast an appreciative glance, smile or even greeting my way.  To this stranger, I am not the yoga teacher, the person who fixes his posture or the person he shares his aches an pains with.  I am not the person who cashes the till or locks the studio up at the end of the day.  I am not the asexual best friend who he jokes around with.  He doesn’t know the decisions I’ve made and the thoughts in my head.  To this man, I was just a woman walking down the street who might give him my number or go home with him.

Perhaps, given the chance, the encounter could have progressed. When I was younger, believing that every avenue needed to be explored, it probably would have.  Perhaps numbers would have been exchanged.  A call here.  A text there.  Trying too hard to make something happen when it could have been left as a nice random exchange.  Perhaps I would have tried to make him like me because the more men wanted me, the more of a woman it made me feel like.  I was never a flirt, but that didn’t mean I that I didn’t sometimes wonder if the amount of attention received meant that one was a better woman than another.  Those thoughts always flew away as quickly as they came however.

There were always more interesting things I wanted to do and learn.

There were people I wanted to meet and know; their stories, their lives.

And in these explorations, and doing things, I am too learning that the expression of femininity might not be limited to the late night trysts you have with a man in darkness.  If it is, I want more than that.  Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I am learning that femininity is more than looking like a stereotype of what the average male wants you to look like.  It is not the long hair, or the diets, or the oh so flirty way you say his name as you saunter towards him.  It is less than that, and it is more than that.

It is about how you feel.

I am in my feminine when I am bathed in sweat, dancing between the postures.  When I have spent a day in spandex, or elbow deep in numbers trying to find that missing link in the counting.  I am there as I sit here in my towel, exploring these thoughts.  When I am the shoulder to cry on, the teacher, the best friend, the sister, the daughter and even when I am cracking the whip.  I am in it as I sink in the bath at the end of the day, and I am in it as I haul a box across the way.  I am in it in my anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, happiness, joy.  It is there when in my interactions, when I speak, touch, listen, and love.  It is in, and a part of me and no person has a right to say that I am not honouring it by not feeding my base desires.

And perhaps, my deeper desires are stronger than my base desires.  That desire to be seen as a whole, a person, a friend.  Perhaps my femininity is in wanting to turn things inside out, to stand there emotionally and mentally vulnerable, to allow him to see me from within and move from there.  Perhaps, in my 33rd year, I am starting to believe that romance is not a roll between the sheets, but conversation and deep friendships instead, and that as a woman, I owe myself this right to hold any part of myself back until I feel completely ready to share it.

Perhaps, I am learning that instead of jumping into the arms of a random person who is attracted to me on sight, I would rather be with the person who knows me.  Perhaps, right now, my femininity is expressing itself in the ability to let go of instant gratification, slow it down, appreciate the journey and just allow space for things to happen.

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The Intimacy of Celibacy

Over a year ago, I made the conscious decision to be celibate.  This meant no physical anything with anyone, so no pashing and definitely nothing beyond that.  When I first tell people this, the responses I get vary greatly.  Some have looked at me incredulously with the question, “why?” Some have lectured me on how I am fighting natural human urges, and therefore not taking care of my needs, while others, mostly close friends, have been very supportive of the decision.  In a world where more is always better, I made the decision to go with less.

Flowers by Opulent Garden: http://opulentgarden.com.au/

Why am I doing it?

Well, in the last 10 years, I had had one four year relationship, followed two weeks after it ended with a one year fling, then a couple of years and flings in between, followed by a three year relationship. Having not had much time alone at all, I felt that in the midst of major life changes, it was right that I take some time alone.  What’s physical intimacy got to do with it you say?  Well, that’s the thing.  Physical intimacy, without actual intimacy, to me, is pointless. In a casual encounter, most of the time, you’d be off your face anyway and would be less likely to remember the thing. It’s just mutual masturbation.  And at least on your own, there’s none of the morning after (or just after) awkwardness.

As I delve deeper into my yoga studies, I have also come to believe that we are as much spiritual, intellectual, emotional and energetic beings as we are physical beings.  And that sex or any sort of intimate physical activity is a sharing of energy.  This act in part was to acknowledge the fact that yes, I had given away my energy to people who had left me in an emotional draught after, and also to show myself some respect. You know that feeling when you meet someone you’re attracted to in your beer goggles, and you make out in a club or wherever, but when you go home, there’s not only a hangover but an inexplicable emptiness as well?  Worse still if it ends up becoming more than a quick pash.  Well, I’d decided that the short term high was not worth it anymore.

Unfortunately, making a big decision like this, and being completely determined to keep it, does require some life changes.  For one thing, drugs are a complete no-go now.  Not even a puff of weed have I taken in at least 18 months.  For another thing, no longer do my weekends consist of two nights in a pub, drinking myself silly, followed by spending the entire weekend in bed with a hangover.  In fact, my whole social life has had a revamp.  Strangely enough, giving up physical intimacy has fostered other types of intimacy.  No longer being able to hide behind alcohol and loud music, my socializing options have evolved into long walks and beach outings, hours of brunch and coffee (well tea in my case), the occasional glass of wine and beautiful dinners, all of which require a substantial amount of conversation.  If I am attracted to a guy now, I can’t go into default ‘get drunk and pash’ mode… I actually have to talk to him.

In a world where feminism and equality means that women can do anything men can do, including having random sex, this act of mine might go against the grain.  However, what are feminism and equality if not giving me the freedom to make my own choices.  I have been lucky to have the support of my very feminist mentor, Dr. Heather Moritz through this.  Her pure shakti essence, humour and often unique outlook on the world has definitely had an impact of my life, and have helped me hold my own in this controversial decision of mine.  Ironic how what I’m doing now is seen as different when as little as thirty years ago, someone who did the opposite was pretty much ostracized.  Goes to prove that you should just do what feels right for you at any given time.

Looking around, I see a lot of sex, but not enough intimacy.  To me, it is not intimacy unless there is vulnerability on a level that is other than physical. And for me personally, I have had long stretches of time where my physical self has been disconnected from my emotional, mental, spiritual and energetic self.  This for me, has been an exercise in starting to align all the different layers of what makes me, me.  It has been a chance to regroup and re-gather. My yoga practice has grown.  And on days when I am so present, lying down in shavasana at complete peace, feeling sweat drip off my skin; the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual satisfaction has been greater than any I have had previously.  In this place, I am complete.

It’s not that I’ve stopped shaving my legs.  In fact, through this period, I have learned to take care of my body even more.  It is this living, breathing being full of sensuous possibility. It comes with expressive spirit, intellect, and most of all, a heart. Now I know that sharing myself with someone who can’t appreciate all that, or is not in touch with all that in themselves would be a cop out on my end.  And no, I’m not missing out on anything because on my own, I am complete anyway.

A year on, I am still on this journey.  Although I had an online dating account for a bit once the year was up, but I rethought the whole thing and found it too contrived and forced. It’s gone now.  Dear Michael (the number of times Michael is mentioned, you’d know I’d be lost without him.  The man really is my Master Yoda) asked me how I would let the universe know that I am open to it, and my answer was, “the universe will know anyway.  It’s only a matter of me being ready for it.”