In love, everyone needs to be “masculine” & “feminine”…

I had always been extremely extroverted, an overachiever, a triple A+ personality type, extraordinarily (materially) successful (even in my early twenties), blah, blah, blah… I was very “yang”. However, my marriage to my childhood sweetheart was an absolute mess! My husband was uncomfortable with my increasing success… No matter how much I tried to save our marriage, sadly our marriage was lost…

As time went on, my personality seemed to only attract alpha (yang) males. However, once in a committed relationship, they did everything in their (mighty) power to snuff out my light, always wanting the limelight for themselves & expecting me to take a backseat to their lives. After a while I thought I must have been doing something wrong.

I thought that I simply needed to work harder at practicing unconditional love. I had been researching psychology, philosophies, physiology, eastern philosophy, religion…. And, as we often do when we are trying something new, I made a mistake – a BIG mistake. I mistook the idea of the “feminine principle” (yin) as all I (a woman) should try to emulate in the hopes of creating harmony in myself and in my relations with others (especially my partner).

The semantically complex compound word “yinyang” simply put means “opposites”. Exact translations of “yin” & “yang” separately are: “shady side of the hill” & “sunny side of the hill”. Yin (the “shadow” side) represents the passive female principle in nature (defined by Chinese philosophy as: soft, wet, flowing, dark, mysterious… submissive); yang, the assertive male principle in nature (defined by Chinese philosophy as: rigid, dry, solid, visible, evident… dominant).

I had found the Chinese Taoist yin principle: “be like water” very helpful in handling rigid business colleagues. The principle believes that water is stronger than stone (simply look at the grand canyon). When dealing with a “rock”, one must learn how to go around the rock, to wear it down, to reach one’s final destination/goal… It actually works very well. Not wanting another failed marriage… I thought maybe there is more to the power of the innate “feminine” principle & that it was certainly worth a try.

YinYang

Since I had an extremely dominant male, I thought all I have to do to make our home harmonic is practice the yin principles. For the sake of peace, for the sake of my children, I’ll simply be the yin to his yang… I thought, “No one is perfect, so I should continue to try to love unconditionally – this time using the yin principles…” Surprisingly, ta dah! I actually found the Chinese Taoist yin principles to be very helpful guidelines in learning to love unconditionally. I was actually able to master unconditional love… I must say it gave me an inner peace and an ability to be happy like I’ve never known. My inner (mental & spiritual) life was now bliss. However, in time, it took a great toll on my physical & material well-being (my yang so-to-speak).

What was I doing wrong? “Such a great theory!” I thought, “Why isn’t it working?” I had a beloved Zen master (who sadly moved back to Japan), who told me for years, “Why are you trying to be a saint? You are not a saint. Stop trying to be one!” Zen masters always speak in riddles… so I never quite understood exactly what he was trying (repeatedly) to make me see. I would think, “I like being a good/loving person. What’s wrong with that?” Plus, I loved Zen meditation (a yin/feminine principle) – it was great for maintaining my mental well-being.

Later, I studied with a Sufi master (who is sadly back in Turkey), he would say (also repeatedly), “You have to be a warrior! You must learn to fight! Even Jesus was a warrior!!!” I never understood why a Sufi master would be referencing Jesus, but o.k. Whatever works I thought! But it didn’t work on me; I wanted to be as “loving” as I could be. Plus, I had never been happier, I loved being connected to my spiritual (yin/feminine) side – nothing bothered my inner peace.

Then at a New Year’s party. The hostess had hired a psychic as entertainment for the entire event. Everyone was letting her read their palms, cards or something… Anyway, late in the evening I finally acquiesced. I sat down and the woman looked at me and said, “You are a very loving person.” I can still feel myself swelling with pride, surrounded by a number of guests watching the “show”. Then, in front of all those people the psychic said, “No. No. Wait. You could be a very loving person, but you don’t love yourself. Until you love yourself, you’ll never be a truly loving person.” I was mortified! What a slap in the face. My swelled ego burst. I got the message this time – loud and clear!

How stupid I had been! The harmonic yinyang principle was never about separating yin & yang (the opposites). It was never about being a compliment to someone else… It was about being the compliment to my self – being everything (passive & aggressive, soft & hard, flowing & solid, shadowy & clearly visible, mysterious & evident, submissive & dominant…) all in one. Every person has to be a lover and a fighter. The key is to train oneself to know when (and how much of) each principle is required. The mastery is being able to do that well enough to use all of the principles in only a constructive way (that is what the dots in the symbol represent — when one aspect becomes so powerful that it is about to take away from/become destructive to the other — it is time to change focus/strategy) .

At first I was too assertive (yang without enough yin). Physically and materially at my peak, but my inner self was a mess. Then I became too passive (yin with not enough yang). My psychological and spiritual life blossomed –  while my finances and body were devoured by my spouse. Now, I am able to know exactly when to be assertive and when to be passive, which is needed when & how to utilize just the right amount of both. Am I happy? You bet I am! Am I at peace? You know it. Do I know how to get my needs met without bulldozing others? Un-huh. Do I love myself? Yes, I do. Am I a loving person? I think so (but I might want to get the number of that psychic)!

An Interesting Side Note:
The earliest recorded English usage of Chinese Taoist/Daoist “yin and yang”, is cited in the Oxford English Dictionary as: 1671 – yet we are just now starting to understand their true meaning. Talk about being lost in translation!

Let’s be clear…

There were several comments yesterday that made me feel I must clarify some points:

Some were worried that I might make people question their actions. In response: Yes. One intention in yesterday’s post was to suggest people question what they are now being told is a norm through the mass media capitalizing on the promotion of S&M (the subject raised in the film 50 Shades of Grey): hurting others intimately and/or letting others hurt you intimately. Even though some readers believed really hurting/injuring someone grows trust, respect and communication… studies have shown that in fact they have the exact opposite effect on a relationship.

Forget all the misleading mass media hype that it’s “playful”. Try to think of it in other terms. If you love your child, would you want to experiment with hurting them to build trust? Would it give you pleasure to hurt them? Would it give them pleasure? No, of course not! We have to be careful in confusing the trend of accepting/loving everyone for whom they are (which is a good thing), with accepting/allowing people to do what ever they want to us in the name of “love” (that is a bad thing).

Some inferred in comments to yesterday’s post: as long as it is consensual…it is ok to hurt others. Is it? There are many people in this world who think they are not worthy of being loved… Some people would prefer a destructive relationship to no relationship at all… The thought of being alone is unbearable for many — so they are willing to put up with all kinds of abuse… There are many reasons why someone would consent to being hurt — but none of them are healthy. No one should be abused, whether they “ask for it” or not. Just like, no one should be raped, even though many perps say their victim “asked for it”. People need to learn to love and respect themselves enough to tell their abusers, “No!”

Psychology is a relatively new science. There is so much psychiatrists/psychologists/therapists don’t know about what makes us “tick”. However, older sciences have proven that pain is the body’s alarm system. The sole purpose of pain is to alert the mind/person that there is something wrong; something needs to be addressed/attended to/resolved immediately. That is a fact. Pain = Something is Wrong.

Anger, not love, motivates people to inflict suffering on others (history is ripe with examples of this fact). Self-hate/lack of self-respect is what allows people to let others abuse them. Get rid of the anger and/or self-loathing. Experiment with love. For your own health and well-being… for all of us: love is the answer.

“50 Shades of F _ _ ked Up!

Lately, I’ve noticed throughout our media many S&M/dominant/submissive spin offs from “50 shades of f_ _ked up (as the character Christian Grey so aptly put it in the film 50 Shades of Grey). There is no beauty in a S&M/dominant/submissive relationship. If there is no beauty, there is no harmony. If there is no harmony, there is no love. Why has “50 shades of f_ _ked up become such a phenomenon?

I watched a review of the film, in which a number of women thought it was great that we had a film that “promotes women exploring their sexuality”. Did I miss something? In the film, Anastasia was an adult virgin (so sexual experimentation was most definitely not her focus). Secondly, Anastasia refuses repeatedly throughout the film to allow the character Christian to perform any of the (deviant) sexual acts that truly turn him on (acts that are painful and/or degrading). Until the last sex scene, when she allows him to have his way (since up until this point he has been controlling yes… but to her confusion he has also been loving and romantic). When he does actually show that he derives pleasure from hurting her, she immediately leaves him. This film was not about sexual experimentation, as much as it was about becoming strong enough to stand up for oneself , how to set sexual boundaries & how physical and sexual abuse as a child can severely warp a person’s mature lovemap.

The movie showed a man who admitted he was “f_ _ked up” (who revealed why: having been born to and spending his early childhood in the home of woman who was an abusive drug addicted prostitute… to later (yet still an impressionable adolescent) be sexually victimized for another 6 years by yet another “f_ _ked up” controlling sadomasochistic woman… (it is not a big surprise that the character’s mature lovemap is deviant). In juxtaposition to the deviant lovemap, the movie portrays a young lady: pure and innocent, who although she did not come from a “perfect” home, she had always had a loving father figure in her life & hence a mature lovemap that sought the same in a partner. Innocent young lady, full of insecurities, struggling financially, trying to find her place in the world, gets sidelined by a more powerful/older predator, who is (outwardly) extremely confident, able to take away her financial woes, and tries to manipulate her understanding of where/what her place is in the world. Although innocent enough to be temporarily intimidated into doing things that made her feel uncomfortable…. She quickly grew aware of the depth of her lover’s unstable mental health… and after trying to love him unconditionally… quickly left for the sake of her own physical and mental well-being. In summary: (surprisingly) there where some good messages in the film.

Unfortunately, our mass media has decided once again to focus on the shock (selling/$) value of the film (promoting the negatives, the deviant). The music industry, magazine covers, fashion… are making visual representations of S&M/dominants/submissives part of our everyday world/norm. Sure, a lot of the media tries to make the S&M cute and playful – news flash; there is nothing cute about S&M. The film and media can give it trendy names “dominant” “submissive” but it’s all S&M (properly defined as sadism & masochism: gratification, especially sexual, gained through inflicting or receiving physical or mental pain and suffering). Why are we promoting pain and suffering? Why is our culture’s latest trend an attempt to promote (and an embracement of) extremely unhealthy relationships? So sad.

We should be promoting love! If people are bored with the missionary position and want to “experiment” with their sexuality – why can’t it be physically & mentally (spiritually) healthy (loving) sex? Maybe because it takes a lot longer to master the art of inflicting love? The Kama Sutra, Tantric Sex, Taoist Sexual practices all about inflicting love. That should be our cultural trend. There is nothing healthy in receiving pleasure from hurting someone else (or receiving pleasure by being hurt by someone else). If this is what you seek, stop reading desirable love immediately and seek professional help! Sex should not be something that you have to heal from… it should be (in it’s own right) a healing (as is all love) experience. Go experiment with love!

Relativity in Love.

“When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” ― Albert Einstein

Einstein always had a way of describing the most complex ideas concerning life (and love)… in ways even a child could understand.

In essence: Do you want to spend your time with someone who fills your heart with so much joy, that you don’t even notice the passage of time? Or, do you want to be with someone who makes every moment seem like an endless nightmare? Your (love)life is relative to the choices you make. You are free to chose.

Love smells like…

I was asked: What does love smell like?

It is such an indescribable scent, I had to answer:
“Otherworldly! Harmonic! Blissful! Love smells Divine!”

Open Up Your Mind, Your Body & Your Heart.

Most people are searching for love outside of themselves. That’s a fundamental mistake. Love is something you cultivate inside yourself – it is born from the way you think.

Unfortunately, many unintentionally let media tell them: who to love, who to hate, who to be afraid of, who to trust, what to think, and, what not to think…

If you truly want love in your life, be intentional. You can enjoy popular culture – but you don’t have to make it your religion. Instead, make your inner life your priority. If you learn how to open and cultivate your mind and your body, you will learn how to open and cultivate your heart.

When you are full of love (when you love yourself unconditionally), then you will know the true meaning of “being in love” & know how to spot the same same ability in others. Then, enjoy!

Givers Need to Set Limits Because Takers Never Do.

GiverAndTake2

Givers need to set limits because takers never do, is a tenet of a number of Eastern philosophies.

Personally, I was born in the west and raised to always “turn the other cheek”, forgive (& forget), practice unconditional love…

As a young adult, to my surprise, I often found myself in relationships where it appeared that the other person had not received the same memos. Never-the-less, due to these beliefs being ingrained in my subconscious – I merrily committed myself to the unconditional love/’til to death do we part scenario… just to find myself literally dying from trying…

In short, I still believe in forgiveness (as do Eastern philosophies). Forgiveness is not so much for the sake of the person you are forgiving, but for your own peace of mind. However, I now also believe in limits.

Don’t get me wrong. It is important to put effort into your relationships. The old adage: the best things in life don’t come easy is quite true. Relationships can grow in depth and intimacy when they survive trials and tribulations – together.

I guess that is the key. If both people are trying, a relationship is worth fighting for. However, if you find you have been the only person trying for an extended period of time… you must set a limit. “‘Til death do we part” should be interpreted as the death/loss of any part of us that makes us healthy and whole (loss of physical health, loss of joy/emotional well-being, loss of spiritual well-being). Don’t let a ‘Taker’ take parts of you. If the lack of true partnership in a relationship is killing you – forgive, grow & go.