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!

Mother Love.

George Washington (b.1732- d.1799) is quoted as saying, “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

Due to family tragedy, this great man was only able to finish the equivalent of an elementary school education. What I find interesting about the quote is that fact that, George Washington attributes all his great successes in life to the fact his mother taught him physical, mental and spiritual well-being (in the 1740’s no less)…. and that his memory of her is one of great beauty…

Yet, Mothers are humans like all of us… some are healthy… some, not so much…

Albert Ellis, Ph. D. in Psychology (b.1913 – d.2007) is quoted as saying, “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You (no longer)… blame them on your mother…. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

(Albert) Ellis characterized his mother as a self-absorbed woman…. according to Ellis, “she… never listened.”…. Ellis’ mother was emotionally distant…. Ellis recounted that she was often sleeping when he left for school and usually not home when he returned…. Ellis was sickly as a child…. he had eight hospitalizations between the ages of five and seven, one of which lasted nearly a year. His parents provided little emotional support… rarely visiting or consoling him. (Physical) Illness was to follow Ellis throughout his life…. (Mentally) Ellis had exaggerated fears of speaking in public and during his adolescence he was extremely shy around women (difficulty exposing his heart). (Wikipedia) Lack of his Mother’s love could be deemed as having negatively affected Ellis (physically, mentally and spiritually).

Today psychologists state that most mother’s asked, claim sincerely that they love their children. However, their findings have shown that many of the children of these same mother’s, do not in fact believe they are loved by their mothers (and some believe they are not worthy of love at all).

Psychologists go on to list the many factors as to the whys… a lot having to do with children thinking they have to achieve something before they would be worthy of (mother’s) love… The psychologists give an equally long list on how to “fix” the problem… saying, if not corrected these children often become overachievers in the unconscious desire to attain love….

All I want to say here is: a mother, her children & her relationship(s) with her children don’t have to be perfect – just harmonious. The role of the modern mom is still in a state of flux (a bit chaotic). Moms, like all of us, need to focus on learning to accept themselves first; focus on their own physical, mental and spiritual well-being. If the mother is full of love and harmony, her children will naturally reflect this.

May our hearts swell with love and gratitude (or at least understanding) for all our mothers!

Mind, body and spirit… What?

Mind body and spirit. Mind body and soul. These words have become catch phrases. There are innumerable eastern inspired and/or “alternative” websites dedicated to the ideas; the American Cancer Society, the Teachers College at Columbia University, Harvard Medical School (just to name a few of the increasing number of Western mainstream establishments now promoting their own special interpretations) give much advise on living a “balanced” life. Yet, many simply use catch phrases (“balance”, “alternative…”, “quality time”, “ground yourself”, “meditate”…) to describe the catch phrase (mind, body and spirit/soul). Everything sounds very inspirational, but (in layman terms) how do we “balance” our physical, mental and spiritual lives?

First, forget the word “balance”. You actually want to harmonize (not “balance”) your our physical, mental and spiritual entities. Unfortunately, the word “balance” has become a common catch phrase due to a misinterpretation of eastern philosophy (in which the word for “harmony” was misinterpreted to mean “balance”). Balance is a state of equal distribution. Who wants the stress of maintaining a state of equal distribution to attain & maintain physical, mental & spiritual health? Our bodies, minds and souls don’t want more stress; they want harmony.

Our body, mind and soul are interconnected & therefore the health of one affects the health/harmony of the other two. Harmonizing each individually (and thus as a collective) is the key to optimal health, well-being, joy, and (desirable) love in our lives. Try to exercise/strengthen your body, your mind and your spirit everyday. I know that might seem a bit overwhelming at first… Just try!

Like any new exercise/health routine, it is best to try to slowly incorporate Body, Mind and Soul harmonizing techniques into your daily routine. Start with what comes naturally to you (or what you are most drawn to), then layer on additional practices. In time, the better you feel, the happier you are, the more you love life… the more motivated you will become to try/incorporate more techniques.

Here are a few I have found to have a great impact on my health, happiness and ability to appreciate love in and around me – and (even more importantly) to gracefully handle their opposites!

  • Exercise
    • Move, Stretch & Strengthen your body
    • Move your circulatory system (strengthen your heart)
      • Using “cardio” exercises – sweat
    • Move your lymph system (clean your blood/heart from impurities and strengthen your immune system)
      • Walking is the best way to move your lymph
    • move your energy systems (chi/qi/chakras – harmonize body, mind and spirit)every day
      • if you don’t like the idea of practicing kundalini yoga, tai chi, or, Qigong… you can always try Taoist or tantric sex and/or masturbation – they are actually the best for opening chakras and moving chi
  • Eat
    • Not just “100% Organic” (chemically free), but “Whole” (unprocessed) foods.
      • There are many “organic” foods that are refined (processed) that are simply not healthy
        • Learn the difference before you waste your money
    • The largest part of everyone’s diet should be a colorful array (yet the majority green) of low starch vegetables
      • If you eat raw vegetables – make sure you soak for 10 minutes in a hydrogen peroxide & water bath to kill the parasites
        • Most people don’t think about the parasites in raw foods (they exist in large numbers in ALL raw foods & are the cause of many digestive discomforts).
      • If you eat raw foods that you are not 100% sure were prepared properly – have a daily dose of ginger (raw, tea, pickled…) – the ginger will help kill parasites
  • Drink water that does not have added chemicals (since many tap waters do – if you drink tap and don’t know exactly what’s been added to your tap water – use a filter)
    • Also use a filter on your shower heads, chemicals in water are absorbed through the our skin (an organ in it’s own right) and can cause other health problems
  • Get plenty of sleep (children need 8-12 hours; adults, 6-8)
  • Get outdoors more – “ground yourself” in nature
    • We are animals first & just like animals taken out of nature (put into an artificial environment), we suffering physically and mentally if we are indoors too much of our day. Suffering physically and mentally will lead to a weakened spirit (loss of joy).
  • Be happy
      • Practice optimism (not fool heartedness, just optimism)
      • Be positive (don’t lie, tell people the truth, simply do it in a positive/constructive way)
  • Be grateful
    • If you pray for nothing else… say a prayer (or simply some words, if the word “prayer” makes you feel uncomfortable) of what you are thankful for – every day.
      • Only once a year, on the third Thursday of November – is not enough!
    • Western science has now proven that the health (harmonizing) benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless
  • Spend more quality time with loved ones
    • What is “quality time”?
      • It is time in which you pay thoughtful attention to loved one(s).
        • It is not (for example) watching a movie together
  • Live your passion
    • If it is a passion shared with your loved ones – even better
      • If not, to be true to who you are (how you define and love your own self), you must find time to cultivate your individual passion.
        • Schedule in “quality time with self”
  • Meditate
    • There are many forms to choose from: you can practice meditation (obviously), prayer, yoga, mindful breathing, tai chi, qigong, Daoist sex, journal/blog writing, any peaceful activity in nature (such as walking, a slow jog, gardening, sailing, biking…) – remember peaceful not competitive forms (leave those for physical exercise).
  • Sacrifice
    • Practice sacrifice, compassion and empathy for at least one other person everyday (and always for yourself)
    • For example: give time to a local charity, or, simply give a pregnant woman your seat on a crowded bus/train/subway…
      • No matter how big or small the effort – make sure the gesture is sincere/comes from your heart

Last, but most importantly, DO NOT STRESS, if you are unable to do something everyday. The trick is to SIMPLY TRY YOUR BEST everyday. Be kind to yourself. Practice will make progress.

Again this is only a short overview of body, mind, and spirit practices that have helped me maintain harmony in my life — even through the most trying of times. I hope they inspire & bring health, harmony and happiness to you. Remember, all parts of us are one in the same. Be loving to one part of yourself, and in time you (and others) will love all of you even more!

Love is a Tide!

I could say if one does this, or, one does that… life, love, your physical health, your mental health and your spiritual well-being will always be what you desire them to be – healthy, happy and positive – but they won’t. I adore inspirational quotes and stories just as much as anyone, but we must remember they are only half of our life (and love) stories. Finding the love and way of being we want, actually lies not so much in learning how to recognize and appreciate the high moments – it is in fact learning how to gracefully handle life’s lowest moments.

The t(d)aoist symbol:

YinYang

which many recognize today as “yin & yang” symbolizes an ancient philosophy “the way”. It teaches that everything (every moment) in a healthy life ebbs and flows – like a tide. First the tide comes in then it goes out. Opposites. First there is day then there is night – then there is day…. Rotation. First there is joy then there is sadness then there is joy then there is sadness…. Constant (movement). In summary: All of life is a constant rotation of opposites (positives and negatives). By excepting this, one does not feel the pressure of feeling guilty when their life is not “perfect”. No one is perfect. Remembering this simple fact makes loving yourself and others so much easier!

The same eastern lifestyle philosophy believes that the lows in life are actually necessary learning tools. Lows help us develop knowledge and wisdom to later attain ever greater highs – such as in love. Remember: the lows are necessary. Although it can be hard at first, view them as learning opportunities. This mental attitude is the first step in turning a low point into your next high.

I am sure at least one person reading this post (that is now going through and/or has gone through an extended or extreme low point in their lives – physically, mentally, in love and/or spiritually) is probably thinking, “Yeah, yeah, what do you know of my suffering?” To that thought I will simply say, “I assure you, I can empathize”.

The small white dot in the sea of darkness (as seen in the ying & yang symbol above) is the first sign that the tide is changing. Learn to be able to see those positive opportunities (those rays of hope) when things are not going well. Don’t get stuck or dwell in ill health, mental anguish, a destructive relationship pattern or loss of faith in the world. As long as you continue to move forward you will find your good health, your love and your happiness again. Don’t get stuck in negative patterns!

Accept the fact that everyday is not going to be blissful. Forgive yourself when you feel that you haven’t lived up to your, your partner’s, or society’s ideal. Be thankful for what you learn when times are tough. With a mental attitude like that you will find you are healthier physically, happier and find it easier to love yourself (and others) more. Learn life and loves lessons, but try not to lose your harmony or grace, this will make even your darkest moments seem light.

Be Desirable!

There is nothing more attractive than someone with a passion for something, who looks at things positively & is always seeking to better themselves. Work on dedicating yourself to being such a person & see how desirable you become!

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.