Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Sexual Healing


I once had a spiritual teacher who was a sexual predator. He was my minister, and, in many ways, my mentor. I should have seen his acting out, but I was naive and young. He raped a friend of mine, but I didn’t know that until 40 years later. If I had known, I would have left. I guess I did leave. My friend left the church and went to another church, and I followed her.

This man, a man of the cloth, opened many doors for me, although he had a shadow side that allowed him to take advantage of his position. I quoted him Sunday AM from the pulpit. I didn’t mention names, and as sad and horrifying as his actions were toward women, he helped me immensely. I don’t discount that. I would have been “out of there” sooner if I had been able to see the abuse, but my family history allowed me to deny it. I too was caught in an unhealthy sexual perspective, though I didn’t know it. I was a child of the sixties, and there was a sexual liberation movement that was well-needed, but with it came a time of experimenting. There was no AIDS, no herpes, but there were few heart-centered guidelines.

I had a friend who disclosed that he was a peeping tom. He was one of my best friends and he had always treated me with respect and admiration. He asked me to read Patrick Carnes’ book, Out of the Shadows. It’s about
sexual addiction. I cried when I read the book. It opened new doors of compassion in me. I never looked at my friend differently. I couldn’t excuse his behavior, but after hearing his confessions and reading the book, I saw a different point of view.


There are many women who are coming forth these days with stories of sexual abuse. People ask why they didn’t come forward sooner. Maybe it was fear, but, for me, it was because I was raised in a culture where men took advantage of women, and I didn’t even see it as wrong. I thought it was just, “This is what men do.” It was like a Stockholm Syndrome for our culture.

My husband has been great when it comes to sexual openness. He admits that he, too, has his sexual baggage. He was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, and, in their book, just being alive is practically unacceptable.
I once took my mom to a weekend retreat. She asked me some specific questions about sex. I was shocked at her naivete. She had three children, was married to a womanizer (I’m being kind with that assessment), and hardly knew anything about sex. I won’t go into details, but the generation I came from was one step away from Puritanism. Those values keep parents from allowing sex education in the schools and make sex a forbidden fruit, thus creating intrigue and mayhem around sexuality.

Take religious repression, violence, domination, and sexual liberation, mix them together, and you have a mess - a milkshake of sexual wounding. There are a few brave souls who address this. Of course, I had to put my toe into the turmoil, thinking I could contribute something of value. I gave a workshop on sexual pleasure and a seminar on sexual boundaries in the workplace, but I just scratched the surface. There’s not an easy solution, but there is a calling coming forth that demands that we, as a culture, take a closer personal look. Sexuality is a topic that, when explored, offers poignant possibilities for introspection. Sexuality is a part of the mind, body, spirit connection. It should be an intimate act, done in full awareness, that allows us to learn the deeper aspects of our being, because when we do, life becomes EZier and EZier.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Relationships

Relationships are the playing field from which we learn love and goodness. Without these indispensable basic elements, relationships are cold and dark. They imprison us in pain or limitations. Loveless relationships are full of competition, a relentless drive to get something, or the need to be right and prove the other wrong. Unhealed wounds are the source of punishment when the other friend, child, or partner does not meet one’s unmet baby needs! Revenge on one’s parents is taken out in the relationship.

Gina Lake puts in succinctly when she says, “What interferes with expressing love is the tendency to be absorbed in your mind and thoughts about yourself and what you want and need rather than about how you might express love.”

It’s not a pretty scene, the loveless relationship. However, relationships founded in lack, pain, power, and struggle have the potential to come alive through love. It is in the awakening to our true nature that love flourishes. Love surfaces when we surrender the egoic mind. Once we stop demanding the form love must take, we are free to become what we really are – love incarnate. This loves shines away the darkness in our relationship and even the darkest corner becomes a welcome potential to strengthen love. Focusing on love awakens deep compassion, and it is this compassion that allows us to see our partner, friend, or family member clearly. We cease to identify them with their actions and define them through their Essence.

Truly, the quality our relationships is dependent on our relationship to Source. When we know who we are and make a conscious effort to be the space for love to live, everything changes.

Are you ready for the change? How can you live love?

  • Don’t try to be right. Just drop the conversation that keeps love at bay. This is a game called right - wrong and it is designed to thwart intimacy.
  • Really listen to what your friend or partner is saying.
  • Heal your thoughts about your parents. Unhealed parental wounds not only show up in your relationships, they show up as your relationships. Acknowledge what your parents did to you. It’s not about blame. If a parent runs over a child with an automobile, it’s unintentional, but the child is hurt none the less. Truly acknowledge what happened, then forgive your parents, and drop it.
  • Pray for your friend or partner. Wish for him or her the best. Don’t try to coerce the Universe into getting more love or attention from your partner. Radiate your love toward your partner.
  • See yourself as whole and lovable when you are with your friend. Be aware of your self-talk. Don't use that inner voice to put them down. Don't think about what you want from your friend. Experience your lovability; drink in the ever-present, omnipresent love available. Keep your mind clean.
Relationships can be thought of as a spiritual pilgrimage. You enter with high expectations, stumble and fall, then discover things about yourself that would be hidden if you were alone, then heal those wounds, and finally share love from the deepest places. If you can’t go to India and see a guru and you desire the rigorous teaching of a master, just turn to your relationships and see them as your guru. If you open your heart and let them, they will lead you to love, and with love as your guide, everything is EZier and EZier.

Anne #relationships