Auntie Kat’s Collection On Nudism

A few years ago, I wrote a few thoughts on nudism for a Tumblr account when I was doing the social media for Cypress Cove Nudist Resort. I lived there for eight years – and it is one of the most wonderful, magical places on earth. It was recently featured in the first episode of Worn Stories on Netflix. I was looking back through my posts last night as I was sharing information with a friend. I thought it would be nice to have them all in one place, so I’m going to post them below. I love being Auntie Kat and helping people to find peace and joy with/in their bodies. I am available for individual coaching and to speak to small groups if anyone is interested. Feel free to reach out to me.

The waterfront and beach at Cypress Cove Nudist Resort in Kissimmee, FL

Auntie Kat here, with some thoughts for you.

I was looking through some pictures of beautiful places yesterday – places that I’d like to visit, spend some time – and I had this awareness of the difference in how I look at these places now – and how I used to look at them.

Once upon a time, I looked at beautiful, luxurious places and thought that one day I would be “attractive” enough to go there. Back then, I “knew” that my fat, imperfect body didn’t fit in there. I wasn’t a “beautiful enough” person for such a beautiful place. So, I would daydream about one day having the improved body and enough money to have a certain wardrobe (for my finally slender body) that would allow me the right to be there. I just really couldn’t picture myself there otherwise.

Yesterday, I looked at those places – looked at this one place with fancy lounge chairs that were actually IN the swimming pool – and I could picture myself there, enjoying the amenities – in my still fat, still imperfect, wonderfully alive, fully human body. That disconnect was no longer there. I had this distant awareness of how I once used to feel – but I didn’t feel that at all anymore. I just thought, that would be fun … I’d like to experience that.

I attribute this shift in me to nudism. Not just to nudism, but to spending a lot of time at Cypress Cove Resort, one of the most beautiful nudist resorts in the world. It’s gotten me used to being accepted as I am, to being welcomed just as I am, to being comfortable in my body, THIS body, without changing a thing. Because I’ve experienced one of the most beautiful places in the world day after day – and felt totally comfortable and free whether clothed or naked, I now have a sense of myself as a person who can enjoy such things – and who deserves to enjoy such things!

It seems silly to me now that I ever bought into denying myself anything until I was “good enough.” The whole diet culture our society lives in disempowers girls/women (and increasingly, boys/men too) so ineffably much and does so much damage, limiting our lives in countless ways. When people break free of that, when we learn to love and accept ourselves as we are – our lives become filled with possibilities! Some that we’d never even imagined for ourselves!

If you’ve ever felt like you’d like to try nudism or you’d like to visit a beautiful resort, but your self-confidence is a bit shaky or you don’t feel like you’re “beautiful enough” to enjoy nude recreation and social nudism – let me just tell you that Cypress Cove is a great place for you to visit and begin claiming your power back – and asserting, even to yourself, that you deserve all of the good that life has to offer.

You can check it out here. There are many family friendly resorts around the country that you can find through the American Association of Nude Recreation – look here. And there are even more nudist places around the world. Take some time to explore and see where you may like to visit!

Hello ~ Auntie Kat here. 🙂

I’d like to be able to capture for you and share with you the feeling of how really very gentle and human it is to be nude/to be a nudist. The vulnerability yes, but more so, the gentle ease of comfort with the naked body without sexual agenda – just being at home in your own skin in a naked human body contains a sort of grace, a sort of majesty, a sort of stillness that is rare in a loud/busy world. Nudity creates a sense of peace, of comfort, of being gently, unashamedly human. It is disarming. It is soothing. It is equalizing. It is uplifting.

Personally, I immediately feel more comfortable and a sense of camaraderie when people are nude. There’s a welcoming. A human intimacy – and I don’t mean even remotely in any sexual sense. There’s a comfort with the self that allows other people to be comfortable around you.

It is really useful/helpful to be able to understand that there is a separation between nudity and sex/sexuality. Sex/sexuality is its own realm to explore and enjoy in the consensual agreements adults make with each other. Nudity holds its own place in the world that is separate and distinct from sex/sexuality, even though social narratives often try to program us otherwise into believing that nudity is sexual. We can reject those narratives and claim the innocent, gentle, powerfully human state of nudity as the natural, beautiful entity that it is. Claiming this space for nudity could go a long way toward healing our relationships with our bodies, ourselves, and each other.

A Note from Auntie Kat:

I have a lot of friends in the size acceptance/body acceptance, body positive, fat activist world. I am solidly with them. All bodies are good bodies and all bodies deserve respect. I’ve been a fat activist for going on 25 years now. I’ve been a nudist going on 15 years. Long enough for me that body shame has become a non-issue. It never occurs to me anymore to think about changing my body or hiding my body. I don’t worry about what I consume or don’t consume. If I want to eat something, I eat it. I naturally like a lot of “healthy” foods – but I feel no need to explain or justify my food choices, my body size/shape/fitness, my wardrobe choices, or really anything about me. I am here. I exist. I’m doing my things in the world – and that is enough. I feel internally held and supported. I stand present in myself.

It wasn’t always this way. On the contrary, I spent decades trying to change my body size, trying to shrink myself, trying to flatten my stomach. From the time I was 10 years old until I was in my early 40’s, I dieted and exercised like a person obsessed. I converted to “lifestyle changes” when I’d decided dieting was harmful – found sneaky ways to continue dieting as I also tried to make fat acceptance/celebration my reality. I’d held the problematic and untrue belief for so long that if I just got the right body size, the entire rest of my life would fall into place. Looking back, I’m not sure how I could have ever fallen for such a load of crap – for THIRTY years! But such is the power of receiving around 386,170 negative messages a year (according to Ragen Chastain) about our bodies from media and society in general.

Somewhere along the way, and I think the biggest piece of all of this was becoming a nudist, I stopped struggling with body image altogether. So much so that when I now see articles from my friends that talk about how many young girls are dieting and suffering from eating disorders, and how many women struggle with body image, I feel like, oh that’s still around? It’s just not a part of my world anymore – and it’s disorienting to see and read about people for whom it is still an issue that consumes them and prevents them from living a full and happy life. That’s still the reality for a lot (the majority?) of girls/women, and increasingly, boys/men.

I remember waiting for my life to begin when I finally attained what I thought would be my perfect body. I remember all of the self-denial and grueling exercise – and how imbalanced and small my life seemed back then, consumed with trying to be smaller than my body naturally was.

Today, I look around and I see bodies of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, and various scars and other variations – and we’re all just human beings, all worthy of love, respect, and belonging. We don’t need to have different or “perfect” bodies. We are all miracles!

I look at myself and see signs of my body aging. And I’m okay with that. I’m comfortable in my body, grateful for my life. Maybe part of it is having survived cancer. That certainly gives a different perspective. But I think the biggest part is the nudist lifestyle. Through nudism, I have come home to my body. I invite you to see what nudism can do for you.

Greetings from Auntie Kat! 🙂

I was just reading about a nudist wave pool event that had to be canceled because of public outcry, centering of course, as these things tend to do, on “what about the children?”

Yes, let’s talk about that, please. Let’s talk about the children.

Let’s talk about children who experience safe, non-sexual nudity. Let’s talk about children who understand that their bodies are their own, that nobody is to touch them in any way without their consent, and that have strong body image because they grow up seeing and knowing that bodies come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and ages – and that all people, including themselves, are to be respected in the bodies that they are in.

Let’s talk about children who are not embarrassed, ashamed, or confused by the naked human body. Children who feel comfortable in their own skin. Children who aren’t doing inappropriate things trying to satisfy their natural curiosity about the naked human body and how it looks. Children who grow up knowing that nudity does NOT equal sexuality and who therefore do not grow into adults who sexualize people against their wills or mistake any level of nakedness as some form of invitation/consent.

Now let’s talk about adults a minute. Let’s talk about adults who cannot possibly conceive of seeing a naked person and not being sexually turned on by that. That’s a problem because that sort of mindset can give a foundation for rape culture. Nakedness is not inherently sexual. People should be able to be naked without being sexualized. When people are sexualized against their will, no matter how they are dressed or not dressed, that is a violation of consent. When children are sexualized by adults (pedophilia), that is an enormous problem. And the fact is, it IS an enormous problem in our country – and having children being fully dressed does nothing to slow it down.
We need a fundamental shift in how we see/experience nudity and sexuality. We need a profoundly better understanding of – and respect for – consent. Safe, non-sexual social nudism can play a healing role in our society. We need more people who understand and can articulate that nudity and sexuality are not the same thing. We need better communication about boundaries and expectations of behavior.

The reality is that the nude event at the wave pool would have likely been one of the most respectful, non-sexual, and safe events they ever have there. You know why? Because nudists get it and we are very protective of our women, children, and communities in general. Because male nudists know better than to leer, or make inappropriate comments, or to touch. And if adults in a nudist community see anyone behaving badly, they take steps to protect the community, including banning badly behaving people as necessary. Out in the textile world, there are lots of men who are constantly wildly inappropriate and predatory. Young girls cannot go anywhere without being sexually harassed, including church and school. If you don’t agree, you’ve never been or raised a pre-teenaged girl. And lots of boys are harassed/molested as well. We need to do better at protecting our children – but “protecting” them from nonsexual nudity is the opposite of helpful.

The rest of the world has a lot to learn from nudist communities. In the era of #metoo, don’t you think it’s way past time we started having more of these conversations? We can’t afford to allow the people who are ignorant about nudism to dominate the narrative. We need to educate!

A lot of people live within the confines of a rather small comfort zone … and long deep inside for a life where they don’t feel so trapped and limited and disconnected. It seems to be a very natural instinct to try to stay “safe” – however, sometimes that instinct works against us when we fear things that wouldn’t actually harm us and may actually benefit us. Like nudism.

Becoming a nudist is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my life. Even aside from the simple enjoyment of being nude and being comfortable in my body, it has had side benefits for me of improved body image and increased confidence that has positively impacted every area of my life.

I believe that one of the things that keeps a lot of people from taking chances on anything is a struggle with body image. Our culture gives us almost endless negative messages about our body – that can make us feel not “good enough” for anything if we let it. Nudism can be a very nice antidote to that. 

When one feels alive, whole, and grounded inside their body, a whole new world of possibilities can open up. Sometimes we need to push a little outside of our comfort zones to get to the most fulfilling parts of our lives. Best wishes on your journey! Love, Auntie Kat

Hey Everybody! Auntie Kat here. Last time, I promised to share some suggestions about how to start making a push toward normalizing nudity and the natural, naked human body. We need to change the narrative of how nudity is talked about and considered in our social/cultural context.

I can remember a time when I thought “going commando” was a big deal. LOL (I need one of those emojis here where the tears are coming out while laughing). It’s funny, but it’s not. It makes me sad that as a young adult, I thought that not wearing underwear was risque. Little did I know that my future self would rarely wear underwear – and that being naked as often as possible would become a natural part of my life, no big deal at all.

I think one way to disrupt the narrative is to just start talking about it, openly and honestly. I mean, I know some people have to be careful about it because of their professions. But I don’t think that should be the case! I want a world where it’s safe to be who you are and to live how you choose as long as it isn’t hurting anyone. Do what you have to do to protect your life and well-being, but maybe try to incorporate some of these suggestions where you can into your life so that you don’t squelch your inner nudist:

1) Sleep nude. It’s good for you (read this!). It also helps you to start relaxing about nudity if you have any qualms at all. It allows you to get comfortable being naked in the privacy of your own bedroom. 

2) Stay nude. If you’re in a situation where you can, maybe get dressed last. Walk around your house naked. Eat breakfast in the buff. Put off putting on clothes for as long as you can. Enjoy the freedom of your body moving without the restriction of clothing. If it’s cold where you are, maybe wear a big, comfy, warm robe that still allows you space for your body to feel free.

3) Talk about nudism with people that you feel safe sharing with. Create nudist community together with people who are interested and willing. It’s so relaxing to be able to be naked around people who won’t misconstrue your intentions. 

4) Not sure how to start a conversation like that? How about leave some nudist magazines or books on your coffee table? Or like some nudist pages on FB or other social media – and maybe share some of their posts so that your friends can see that someone they know, someone “normal”, embraces the nudist lifestyle.

5) Join AANR, the American Association of Nude Recreation and stay informed about nudist issues and opportunities.

6) Visit nudist resorts and clubs. Go to nude beaches. Go on a nude cruise. Get together with friends and explore where you can enjoy nude recreation. Have dinner parties at each others’ houses. 

There’s always so much more to say. This is an ongoing conversation. The current climate where nudity is seen as edgy, risque, titillating, etc. – it contributes to a culture of rape and sexual harassment. We need to normalize nudity to help heal the damage that has been done for so many years by demonizing, shaming, and sexualizing the naked human body. If nudity, particularly public/social nudity, were just a regular, natural, normal aspect of life, it would change everything for the better. 

Throughout human history, the nude human figure has been considered a work of art – or at least the subject of, and inspiration for, many works of art. From the Venus of Willendorf statues to more modern art, nudity is accepted and even celebrated. Why not, then, the actual human nude bodies that literally all of us live in? Why this divorce from our natural state of existence?

The absurdity of “modesty” is almost too overwhelming to address. It is predicated upon a belief system that the human body is inherently shameful and corrupt and should be hidden. Well, I don’t agree with any of those things!
Our bodies are miracles! And beautiful. And human. And natural. What’s not natural is demonizing the human body. What’s not acceptable is sexualizing the natural human body to the point where people equate nudity with sexuality and think our human bodies are obscene. While we’re right there, let’s add that making sexuality obscene is all kinds of problematic – resulting in all kinds of aberrations and abuses. But I really don’t want to digress down that rabbit hole. Let’s just stick with the basic point that nudity is not inherently sexual and naked human bodies are absolutely not obscene.

On the contrary, the insistence of the obscenity of the naked human form is in itself a form of violence and abuse against the human body – and against us as inhabitants of human bodies. Our bodies are NOT obscene, dirty, lewd, corrupt, or deserving of punishment, censure, or shame. Again, the issue of sex-negativity comes up here. There are worthy discussions to be had about that another day.

We shouldn’t have to worry about covering up our bodies properly so that we aren’t harassed, gossiped about, shamed, attacked, vilified, raped, or otherwise having our lives compromised because of archaic, hostile, and damaging ideas about the naked human body.

I mean, really. Think about it. People lost their minds when Janet Jackson’s nipple popped out at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Why is a woman’s nipple so shocking? Everyone has nipples! It’s just a natural human body part! On the other hand, almost nobody bats an eye as ever gorier violence overtakes our television and movie screens. Human beings being violently blown up or cut apart – that is truly horrifying, abominable, and obscene! Awful! Our sense of what is natural and accepted has been so corrupted that what’s natural and even beautiful is condemned and what’s horrifying is normalized.

So, let’s start taking back control of the narrative, shall we? Let’s make a strong push toward normalizing nudity and the natural, naked human body. Next time, I’ll have some suggestions on how to do that. Cheers from Auntie Kat!

You may have seen in the news on any number of occasions that the dress codes for girls in schools are adapted in order for the girls to not be “distracting” to the male students and teachers. Most recently, I saw a school district that changed their rules to make girls’ skirts have to be longer so as not to cause the male staff to feel uncomfortable or tempted. All I have to say to that is if someone is tempted by the uncovered legs of a child, then that person has serious problems and should not be working with children in any capacity. And definitely not left alone with a child ever.

Do you know that there are places in the world where girls and women can be completely naked, even sit with their legs spread open and their genitals exposed to the sun and wind – in public, around boys and men, and they are not ogled, disrespected, harassed, abused, raped, or even innocently touched without consent? True fact. Can you even imagine that?

Do you know that there are places in the world where girls and women can be bare-chested and free without fear of anyone commenting on their bodies or making a big deal of it? There are places where it’s natural to be nude/naked and people of all ages, sizes, shapes, colors, and every diversity from all walks of life gather to enjoy nature, hang out with friends, and live a clothes-free lifestyle, whether on vacation or permanently.

Do you know that there are places in the world where boys and men can be completely naked and walk around among girls and women who are completely naked – and they just treat everyone exactly the same as if they were all clothed? They aren’t touching themselves or touching the girls or women. They aren’t being inappropriately sexual. They are just being normal human beings in their natural bodies. This DOES happen all of the time, every day at many places around the world. Life CAN be like this!

I am, of course, referring to family friendly nudist resorts, camps, and clubs. They are some of the safest places in the world for women and children. And they are proof that it is totally possible for men to be among naked women and children without sexualizing them, harassing them, abusing them, and/or raping them.

They are also proof that the key to keeping boys and men from being sexual predators has nothing to do with what girls and women are wearing or not wearing. On the contrary, if we treated nudity as normal and natural – and not as titillation for entitled men – there could be a dynamic shift in our culture away from misogynistic values and toward equality, freedom, and true bodily autonomy for everyone. Think about that a moment, please. Really consider it. Nudism could be a healing force in the world. Also, girls and women should never have to cover up or change anything about their bodies in order to live their lives without harassment, fear, or shame.

Auntie Kat here. 🙂

This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of giving tours of Cypress Cove to two sociology classes from Valencia College. I showed them the grounds and the amenities, and we talked about Cypress Cove’s history and about nudism in general, as well as the benefits of nudism.

I wish I’d had this information when I was their age! It would have changed my life so much for the better. Well, it still did – my life is infinitely improved because of nudism – but it took me until I was 40 to have the courage to try nudism. Back then, there was so much I didn’t know! 

It’s not the same as actually getting to be here and see how beautiful and nice it is here, but I wanted to share with you a few of the thoughts about nudism that I shared with the students that may be helpful for you to know now, no matter what your age. It’s never too late or too early to benefit from social nudism.

One of the most important things to know about nudism is that nudists are just normal people. We come from all walks of life. We come in all ages, sizes, shapes, colors/skin tones, gender identities, socio-economic statuses, professions, abilities/disabilities, etc. We have scars and sometimes missing limbs or body parts. In other words, you don’t have to look or be a certain way to be a nudist. Everyone who respects nudist values belongs. 
When I was 20-something, I thought my body wasn’t “good enough” to enter a nudist resort. I thought I was too fat – that everyone at nudist resorts looked like models. Not so. The majority of people at Cypress Cove are retirees/senior citizens. We also do have young families and people of all ages and stages of life. It’s a beautiful community where everyone fits in.

One of the great gifts of nudism for me has been learning to be comfortable and happy with my body at any size. I struggled with body image my entire life until I became a nudist. Most girls and women do – how could we not when we’re given approximately 386,170 messages a year that our bodies are not okay as they are? (source). 
It is an awesome thing to be loved and accepted and enjoyed for who you are independent of how your body looks. And what a gift to feel comfortable in your own skin! I mean, we’re still human beings living in this society and impacted by the media and typical social values, but nudists more than most people relate to each other in a way that is more about who a person is than what they look like. 

Shedding clothes is a great equalizer. We take off our “masks” and the identities that dressing a certain way gives us. You don’t know if the person sitting next to you at the pool is a doctor, teacher, CEO, secretary, or anything else. They are HUMAN. Nudism puts us more in touch with our humanity – with nature, with ourselves, and with each other. 

It’s important to note that Cypress Cove is affiliated with AANR (the American Association of Nude Recreation) and we practice shared nudist values of nonsexual, family friendly nudity. There are places that don’t belong to AANR, where there is open sexuality along with nudity, such as Caliente Resort in Land O Lakes, Florida and Hedonism in Negril, Jamaica. Those places are fine for consenting adults. We create a different atmosphere here at Cypress Cove and in other AANR affiliated clubs and resorts.

Nonsexual nudity allows us to drop the ever-present socially imposed sexualization of the human body that so tiresomely weighs on all of us. Nonsexual nudity allows us the gentleness of just being in our bodies and being connected to our own bodies, to nature, and to each other in a way that feels free and without sexual pressure or fear.

Cypress Cove is literally one of the only places in the world where a woman can walk down the street naked in the middle of the night and have no fear for her safety or worry about being harassed or attacked. In most places in the world, a fully clothed and even armed woman isn’t safe to walk anywhere in the middle of the night. There is an omnipresent threat of violence for girls and women, particularly, and some men too, to even exist in many places in this world.

Whether we are harassed by being whistled at, leered at, “hey baby”d, or yelled at to “lose some weight!” – most of us have had to, at some point, deal with uninvited and unwanted attention/comments on our bodies. Often the comments are sexualized. Many of us have experienced unwanted touch. Now imagine a place where that doesn’t happen. Imagine a place where you can even be naked and nobody is going to harass you – because the shared values of the community do not allow for that. And if someone is inappropriate, they are immediately removed from the community – and banned for life from any AANR affiliated clubs and resorts. 

Welcome to Cypress Cove. You can relax here. You can get naked here. You can experience yourself here in a different way than you can virtually anywhere else in the world. 

Several students asked about sexuality and nudists. I’ll go into this more in depth in a future writing, but for now just let me say this: nudists are like any other population. There are nudists who are asexual and nudists who are very sexual – and everywhere in between on the spectrum. Wearing clothes or being nude doesn’t change one’s sexual energy, sexual desires, or sexual preferences. People are who they are. People still go behind closed doors and have their pleasure and fun. We just agree as a community to be respectful and keep the PDA rated G/PG. Just like one would do anywhere else there are children present. Nudity is not inherently sexual. If that were understood and respected, it could help heal a lot of problems in this world.

Looking back at the beach from out on the water at Cypress Cove Nudist Resort

Auntie Kat here with some thoughts on nudity for you.

Nudity has generally been associated in this culture with either one of two things: 1) shame/embarrassment, or 2) sexuality.

Here’s the thing: there’s a whole universe of possibilities other than these two narrow parameters to which nudity has been confined.

For starters, there is the possibility of nudity without any shame or embarrassment. That’s actually a more natural state. Shame and embarrassment about the natural human body are something that has to be taught. It is not necessary. It is not good nor virtuous. It is just damaging in all sorts of ways – to our self image, to our relationships with our own bodies and those of others, and to our perception of how regular human bodies look and move.
This indoctrination in shame has left most people feeling like we aren’t worthy to be seen naked, like our bodies aren’t “good enough.” We’ve been taught that the only people who should ever be seen naked fit into a very narrow stereotype. That is not okay or acceptable. Everyone deserves to feel good in their own miraculous body!
There is also the possibility of nudity that doesn’t center sexuality. Nonsexual nudity. Imagine a world where women’s bodies and our sexualities aren’t commercialized to sell everything from cars to toothpaste. Imagine a world where men don’t feel the right or entitlement to leer, catcall, objectify, touch, harass, or otherwise intimidate women regardless of how girls/women are dressed or undressed.

Imagine a world where sexuality is actually completely consensual and appropriate, rather than thrust upon people, particularly women, for just existing in a human body. Nudists enjoy sexuality too, just like anybody else. We are usually more clear than the average person about boundaries, consent, how to communicate, and how to have respect for community space in regards to nudity. One must understand that nudity does not equal sexuality in order to be in nudist space with other nudists.

This isn’t to say that one isn’t a sexual being or doesn’t have sexual feelings, of course. But knowing and respecting that we agree to keep sexuality private and behind closed doors is essential for family friendly nudist resorts. That starts with a fundamental understanding that nudity does NOT equal sexuality.

So, let’s break out of this societal prison – and explore social nudity that isn’t defined by shame/embarrassment or by sexuality. Learn to be comfortable in your own skin and free in your body. It feels great to go swimming naked! Or to be out in the sunshine, with the breeze blowing over your naked body. Explore walking around naked, biking naked, golfing naked (where it’s allowed, of course). You’ll see that nudity is natural and feels good. And that social nudity can improve body image, can be relaxing and fun, and feel very freeing. And that naked is just … naked. It doesn’t mean anything beyond that. 

Nude is our most normal, natural state. There is a grace to nudity – a quiet gentleness in our nakedness, a vulnerability that allows us to connect more easily – to nature, to ourselves, and to each other. 
Nudity as a taboo or stigma is an absurd distancing of ourselves from our very humanity. Our nude bodies deserve reverence, respect, and safety.

There is a certain violence and violation to disrespect the nude human body, to thrust upon it non-consensual, over-sexualized meanings and intents. A nude body is just a nude body. It doesn’t mean anything beyond that. Let the person tell you and show you who they are. Nakedness alone doesn’t tell you anything. Nudity is absolutely NOT implied intent or consent. 

We all deserve to feel safe, comfortable, and happy in our own nude bodies without shame or fear. 

Auntie Kat here, with a couple of things to tell you (in case you didn’t know):

1) Nudism is NOT sexual. It is NOT “risqué”. There is nothing sexually suggestive about nudity. It is only intention that makes anything sexual. Think about it – think when you’re taking a shower or bath, when you’re getting dressed, about the times when anyone is nude for non-sexual reasons – it isn’t a sexual event. At all. Now expand your thinking. Swimming, riding a bike, golfing, playing tennis, going for a hike, dancing, gardening, sun-bathing … none of these things are sexual just because they are done nude. Nude is natural. So, please stop sexualizing it and snickering about nudity as though it were titillating or shameful. We ALL have nude bodies. It’s time to stop any shame around the natural human body and embrace our powerful humanity. If you go to an AANR-approved club/resort/camp/beach, you can be assured that non-sexual nudity is practiced there.
 
2) You don’t have to look a certain way or have a particular body type to be a nudist. Nudists come in all sizes, shapes, ages, colors, and every diversity you can think of. If you are in a body and share basic nudist values, nudism is for you – and you are welcome! I waited over 20 years to visit Cypress Cove after I first heard about it – because I was afraid I didn’t have the right sort of body to be nude. I wish I’d known back then that nudist places are NOT a meat market type atmosphere and that all sorts of people in all sorts of bodies are there, enjoying life! There’s no competition, no judging. Everyone is accepted as the person they are. So, don’t wait or hesitate – there’s nothing that you need to change about your body to be a nudist. If nudism appeals to you, then try it!

We all have the right to feel safe and comfortable in our own bodies. Nudity does NOT equal sexuality. Nudity does NOT equal eroticism. Nudity equals nakedness. That’s it. Being in our own natural bodies. Being naked in nature has long been recognized as having mental, emotional, and physical health benefits. Being nude socially in non-sexual environments is also beneficial in many ways. It is immensely important that we stop allowing the human body to be constantly sexualized. We are so much more than our bodies. And our bodies are so much more than containers for our sexuality! Nude is natural, innocent, and beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

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The Many Paths I’m Traveling

I’m working on a lot of projects, both personal and professional, and I wanted to share some links to some of what I’ve got going on. I’m more active right now on my blogs than on my IG accounts, but there’s some good content you might enjoy on all of the following links.

I’m excited to introduce a new blog that I’ve been thinking about doing for over two years now. It’s about my journey in managing my blood sugar naturally after a diabetes diagnosis. It isn’t just what supplements I’m taking, what foods I’m eating, how much I’m exercising, etc. It does (or will) include some of that too – things I’ve found helpful, recipes I like – but it’s more about what’s going on with me in various aspects of my life as I navigate this path – and how I’m dealing with my emotions and mental health, which have also been impacted by this diagnosis. When I was first diagnosed, I was scared and confused and didn’t know what to do. I’m hoping this blog, My Dance With Diabetes, will help people feel less alone and offer some good ideas.

On my professional blog and home page, I share about my metaphysical/spiritual/healing journey and some of the various experiences and observations I’ve had in that realm – as well as what I have to offer professionally. Check it out!

On Instagram, I have three accounts:

Red Flags In Relationships – which is just like it sounds: thoughts about what signs to look for in relationships as warnings that you may want to pay closer attention to whether or not this is a beneficial relationship for you – and what part you may be playing in those dynamics. I also have a workbook out on Amazon, based on these red flags, that helps you to assess your own relationship/s and how they are meeting/matching up with (or not) your relationship goals and desires.

Fierce Self-Love Journal – also like it sounds: thoughts on loving yourself fiercely, and unconditionally.

Freekat2 – my personal IG, where I share random thoughts on life.

On Pinterest, find me at freekat2 and at psychickath.

Thanks for reading. I’m just trying to do my part, as I’m inspired, to create a little more love, compassion, pleasure, joy, acceptance, space, and happiness in the world. I hope you find my work/writings helpful. Take care!

Posted in blogging, finding my way, following my path, personal journey, sharing, writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking For A Doctor/Clinic That Works With People With Prosthetic Legs and/or Hip Pain – Help Me?

A few years ago, I was at a business conference where a friend introduced me to her friend, with whom she was sitting with during a dinner break in the hotel restaurant. My friend had told her friend about my product/invention and her friend wanted to try it. Sure! I said, and ran out to my car to get a set of Driving Wedges. I came back with them, showed her how to use them – and in less than a minute, she said she wanted to buy them. I was a little surprised at that very fast, very sure commitment to buying them, but then she explained: she had a prosthetic leg and the wedges gave her immediate pain relief by taking the weight of that leg off of her hip. That was an application which I’d never even thought of!

Although I was finally awarded both utility and design patents for the Driving Wedges, due to a variety of circumstances (cancer, falling and breaking both arms, etc.), I ran out of money and ended up closing my business. Sadly, Driving Wedges are no longer for sale or in production. I was thinking about this on a 12 hour drive I had the other day. I am so grateful that I have a set of Driving Wedges! They were expensive in terms of how much I spent to get them patented and produced – but so worth it! I don’t know how I’d make the drive without them! They keep my legs and hips comfortable and aligned. Without them, my legs would get cramps (especially around my left knee), and my hips and lower back would ache. I even used to get cramps in my upper shoulders on long drives before I started using the Driving Wedges. When the hip alignment goes, the whole back suffers.

What’s happening now is that I have five or six cases of them sitting in the basement of a friend’s house – and I need to get them out. I have nowhere to put them. I don’t have my own place and I can’t afford storage right now. I can’t sell them because I no longer have a business license and can’t afford to get one. At this point, I am happy to donate them, just so they go to good use. I have around 125-150 sets that could help people! They could help anyone who drives a lot (or sits a lot) – but what I’d really like to do is find a clinic or two where the doctors would like to test them out on their patients – see if they help. I was thinking for people with prosthetic legs, but I’m also thinking that they could help significantly with anyone with hip pain/problems. It’s worth a try! That’s where I could use your help – connect me with some doctors/clinics that might be interested in receiving this donation so that I can talk to them about this opportunity. Who do you know that is dedicated to helping people get out of pain?

Here is the Facebook page that can give you a lot more information about them. Here is a You Tube video about them (note: the website referenced at the end is no longer active). And here is a Quirky podcast interview I did about the wedges years ago. These really have the potential to help so many people! I’d like to at least give away the ones I have to someone who could help people with them.

Please comment below or email me at psychickath@gmail.com. Thanks in advance for your help!

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Who Am I Now?

I’ve been writing some free verse lately about the journey I am currently on to rise from despair, to find the gift in this dark and challenging time, and to realize the worth of my life independent of “success” and what I have to offer to anyone. I’ve been unemployed since the end of May, ineligible for unemployment. A 56 year old woman whose resume is apparently repeatedly tossed straight into the proverbial garbage can. Am I unemployable? How am I going to survive? I’ve been on food stamps and Medicaid since July. Out of money, relying on friends and family. No longer having financial security is breaking me open and forcing me to confront my humanity and the source of my own sense of worthiness and identity. I’m still in the thick of this, more questions than answers, but this is what I have. ❤

Who Am I Now?

Hold up.
Wait a minute.
I am the nurturer.
I am the mother.
I am the healer.
I am the caregiver.
I am the strong one.
I am the generous one.
I am the teacher.
I am the one in charge.

That’s who I AM.
If I’m not that, then who am I supposed to be?
Someone who asks for help?
Someone who depends on other people?
Someone willing to be a burden?
How am I supposed to accept that?
How can I ask others to accept that?
This is NOT how it’s supposed to go!
My greatest fear staring me in the eyes:
Am I more trouble than I’m worth?

I deny shame access.
I don’t believe in it.
But despair has held me in its embrace.
I’ve questioned the viability of my future existence.
I’d rather die than risk getting Covid?
Or risk the indignity of enduring a life
over which I have no control.
REALLY?
Am I going to be that illogical about it?
Am I going to be so selfish and ungrateful for my own life?
Or am I going to humbly learn the lessons
that life is clearly hell-bent on teaching me?

I am going to learn to receive.
I am going to learn to trust.
I am going to learn to feel worthy –
regardless of my “contributions”
and “success” (or lack thereof).
I am going to learn
to allow myself to feel loved
for me.
For nothing other than being me.
Not for what I can give.
Not for what I can pay.
Not for how I can deliver pleasure.
Not for how I can be of service.
But for simply existing.
Imagine.
I’m trying to imagine.

I love myself.
I love the person who I am –
or who I thought I was.
I’m still here. Inside.
Floating around asking,
who am I now?
While I’ve loved myself,
I haven’t expected others to love me –
or to even see me.
How could they?
I’ve hidden except for when I was being
“helpful” or “fun.”
I held no expectations that I would be valued.
Or loved.
Really loved – not just meaningless words
like so many roads I’ve been down before,
wistfully looking at the paths
I was afraid to try.

Whoa!
Standing here naked
without any of the shields
that I’ve held up to feel important,
safe, and protected –
without any of the platforms
I’ve used to feel separate –
and (to be transparent),
above other people.
I, the benevolent one,
proudly “helping.”
I was too good to need help myself.
Was that it?
No. Not really.
I was too afraid to test
whether or not others would find me
worth the bother,
too scared to again receive the confirmation
that I wasn’t actually loved for me –
that everything could slip away
if I failed to please –
too terrified of my own
irrelevance in the eyes of
someone I risked loving,
shut down and
busy convincing myself that
my own love was enough –
I didn’t need anyone else
to love me back.

Now, my survival depends
on letting myself be loved.
I guess the Universe was finished
with my ego blocking the way.
The question remains,
who am I now?
And who will I become?

Posted in authenticity, challenges, finding my way, love, personal journey, receiving, selflove, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

There Are Reasons That The Teacher Retention Rate Is So Low

One year ago today, I was a 9th grade English teacher, sitting in my classroom at my desk, writing in my notebook. I had a lesson plan that I’d intended to be teaching to my students, but they weren’t listening – and after months of trying everything I could think of – all of the advice I could find online and in books about classroom management, even having other teachers observe my classroom and talk to my students and give me suggestions, I had just about given up. I was there, prepared, and ready to teach, but if they wouldn’t put away their phones, stop talking, and pay attention, teaching really wasn’t possible. I was tired of fighting my students for the right to teach. On the verge of a nervous breakdown, I just started writing instead.

When we see classrooms on TV shows or in the movies, the students sit fairly quietly, paying attention to the teacher. If they pass a note, it’s done quietly, secretly, afraid of getting caught. Students generally respect the teachers and follow the rules. Hallways are not overcrowded with students talking loudly, pushing and shoving – on the contrary, they are depicted as not very busy, where students have the leisure to talk a minute between classes. What a joke! The reality I experienced was classrooms where students never stopped talking and refused to put away their phones. They pulled food, candy, and drinks out and shared them loudly with their friends. There was no respect. Hallways were so crowded people could barely get through – there was yelling and profanity as a background, and with four minutes between classes, there was no time for anyone to have any sort of conversation. Hall monitors were yelling and blowing whistles, demanding students “get to class!” It was a total madhouse that left most teachers feeling battered and on our last edge of sanity. School is not “normal” anymore, even though media depictions of it would have you believe otherwise. It’s not anything like it was when I was a kid.

When one goes to teacher training seminars, the general assumption seems to be that the classroom is basically the sort of utopia we see depicted in media. We are taught teaching strategies that center around cooperation and learning groups where the students collaborate and do research and teach each other. That would be swell if it were possible to actually get the students to do that. Back in reality, getting students to cooperate is next to impossible. First of all, they’re not willing to be in a group with just anyone and will argue with you about it until the end of class (so much for random groupings). Next, even if you manage to get them into groups, good luck getting them to listen to the instructions. It seems so easy in the seminars – because the sample groups are teachers who have learned to listen (although honestly, some of the teachers don’t listen so well either!). Classrooms with teenage students, particularly when there are students with “behavioral issues” makes this scenario a quaint, but completely unrealistic goal. Finally, even if you manage to get them to listen to instructions, the vast majority won’t follow through. They just don’t care. You can’t get them to care – not by rewards or punishments or by carefully explaining over and over again the potential benefits to their futures. For a variety of reasons beyond the scope of what I want to talk about here, they just don’t care. They will not listen. They will not do the exercise. And don’t even bother assigning homework, it will not be done.

I’m not used to failing. I’ve done well at everything I’ve ever tried. I learned all of the standards and the teaching methods. I did everything “right.” I got high praise from other teachers, literacy coaches, and administrators. It was obvious that I really cared about my students. Even when I got too burned out to care, apparently that didn’t show on the outside as much as I felt it on the inside – because when I left, several people said to me they hoped that I stayed with teaching – that I have a rare quality that makes me a good teacher. It’s true that I’m conscientious, dependable, detail-oriented, and I care deeply. I have a lot of good qualities that would potentially make me a good teacher – if I had students that wanted to learn – but that was not the case. Caring deeply was probably not an advantage in that situation, because when I couldn’t get students to pay attention or to care, then I got incredibly frustrated. I cared far more about their education, their success, and their futures than they did. That is not a good position to be in!

I’d go to school each day, determined to be patient and calm. By third period, if not sooner, I’d feel like tearing my hair out. I had some students who were so wonderful – and I was so angry on their behalf that they were missing out on the lessons because I couldn’t get other students to stop loudly disrupting the class. I lost my voice, trying to raise it to be heard above the fray. I was beyond angry when the lockdown alarm went off and the kids were so loud that I couldn’t hear what the current emergency was or what we were supposed to do. When that alarm went off, there was supposed to be complete silence – our lives may have depended on that. I couldn’t get them to care. What do you even do with that? Yes, I wrote them up. I called home. I did all of the things that teachers are supposed to do in order to maintain discipline and cooperation in the classroom. Most kids didn’t care if you wrote them up. They didn’t care if they got ISS (in school suspension) – which is a totally ineffective “punishment.” I stopped writing them up after it became apparent that it did absolutely no good. Instead, I started writing in my own journal, trying to find ways to help keep myself as sane and balanced as possible, under these conditions.

I realized while watching a mental health video on trauma, which had been mandated by the county for all English teachers to show their students, that teaching had been a traumatic experience for me – it had changed how I felt, how I acted, and fundamentally who I was (or who I thought of myself as being). Before teaching, I’d been a massage therapist for over 20 years and owned a health food store for 8 years. I’d been appreciated, treated with respect and kindness – it had been a whole different world! I was a gentle, kind, loving person who loved people and loved to help people. I brought that attitude with me into teaching – but then I became this angry, traumatized, mistreated person who yelled to get attention and yelled in frustration when I couldn’t manage to be awarded any attention or respect.

I was bullied by my students in myriad ways. I had students telling me on a regular basis that they didn’t know how I was so calm and patient most of the time – that they couldn’t handle being treated as poorly as I was treated or put up with the crap that went on in my classroom. I tried to keep my cool and be professional – and more than that, to stay a caring person. I didn’t want to give up on anyone. I wanted so badly to reach these kids, even the disruptive ones. I attempted day after day to stay calm and communicate with them. I wasn’t always successful. I was so upset one day at the lack of cooperation and my inability to get the class to listen that I slammed a clipboard against my desk and it broke in half. Completely out of character for me and definitely not my best moment – but honestly, the trauma of the level of disrespect I faced every day had changed me – and changed my view of the world. I’d lost my optimism and hope. I was reduced to just trying to survive the remaining days until the school year was over.

A year ago today, I wrote about where I might be in 6 months or a year. I imagined myself working in a health spa, doing massage/bodywork, and living a peaceful life. I had no idea what was about to hit the world. I just knew that I was counting down the days until I wouldn’t have to be a teacher anymore. This was only my second year teaching, but I’d had enough. I don’t think that most people have any idea of how hard it is being a teacher – I certainly hadn’t before I became one. I’m not just talking about the work and the bureaucracy (although there is plenty of that!) – but dealing with so many personalities, and caring about all of the students – even the ones who are rude, insufferable, and profoundly disrespectful – it is unimaginably challenging. I also did not feel safe at school. There were fights regularly. It was terrifying to see large groups of students running to get a closer look at the fights. I also had students who threatened me and whom I feared. Teachers really have very few rights or protections. The average person has no idea what students can get away with and not be kicked out of school. It’s honestly such a broken system. I have no idea how to fix it. Where does one even begin?

I was very relieved, to be honest, when we went to online learning. I felt safer teaching from home, that’s for sure! I was also able to give more help to the students who actually wanted to learn. My time was freed up from constantly dealing with discipline issues and I was able to actually teach. I’m not sure that online learning isn’t more effective, in addition to being safer for everyone. It greatly reduces opportunities for bullying and fights. It allows teachers to give more individual attention to students. Whereas during classroom teaching, I spent the majority of my time dealing with discipline issues and trying to get the students’ attention, when I was teaching online, that became a non-issue.

So, here I am, a year later. So far (knock wood) surviving a pandemic. Massage therapy as a career is out of the question until the pandemic is under control. I am not at all where I expected to be. I’m not sure what the next step is for me. I’m thinking about the possibility of working with people who are working in education reform. I have lots of thoughts about teaching – particularly about why over 40% of teachers quit within five years (according to the NEA). I can tell you why – there are lots of reasons (and not just the behavior of the students, by any means!). There were moments when I loved teaching, students who made it worth all of the struggle – but overall, I found teaching to be a fairly brutal, soul-crushing experience. There’s a part of me that misses it, though – that loves kids and longs for the potential of what could be. I know that even with my failings, I did make a positive difference in the lives of some of my students. I miss that connection and community. On the other hand, my stress levels are down, my health has improved, and I’m living a relatively peaceful life. It’s nice not counting down the days until I’m out of a terrible situation, that’s for sure. I’m not sure what’s ahead for me, or for the education system in this country – but I’m considering the possibilities.

Posted in boundaries, challenges, classroom life, learning, teaching | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Holes in “The Secret”, “What The Bleep Do We Know”, & Similar Philosophies

I am reposting this blog post that I wrote about 14 years ago, because it goes along with my current blog post on my other site, Psychic Kath’s Energy Healing & Readings.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, What the Bleep Do We Know by Mark Vicente & co., and You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay all offer us some insights and some potentially valid points … but none of them have the whole picture. None of them address major discrepancies in their philosophies – because NOTHING can explain the mystery that is life. We can only get small parts of the picture. These things are all small parts of a big picture. And they raise as many questions as they solve. I do believe it’s possible that we can create a negative (or positive) energy spiral for ourselves – that negative (or positive) energy attracts negative (or positive) energy – but not in a simplistic way. And other things attract negative (or positive) experiences too – whether they be chance or luck or karma or agreements made for soul growth, challenges set up to learn lessons in “earth school”, or any number of other reasons. Maybe life is just capricious. Who knows? 

But this is the thing: I do NOT believe that everything that happens in the world happens because of thoughts that we are thinking combined with strong emotion/feeling (as is suggested in these types of books and videos). I do NOT believe that we cause all of our illnesses and disasters and tragedies by our faulty thinking and feeling. What this movement has done effectively, is to have taken “God” out of the picture and substituted “our own intentions, thoughts, and feelings” as the reason why things happen. So, before, they would have said, “it’s God’s will” … and now they say, “it’s what you are thinking and feeling that is causing this.” Trying to explain the inexplicable. Trying to make sense of the nonsensical.

When I try to think of examples, so many jump out at me that it is hard to pick one. I think of the woman who left her son who wasn’t feeling well in the car while she ran into a convenience store to get them some cold drinks. A guy comes along, steals her car, and as she is trying to grab her son out, drives off with the boy hanging halfway out of the car and drags him to his death. There is NO WAY that she ever, EVER, had anything to do with creating that scenario in how she thought or felt. There is NO WAY that boy EVER created his own death by what he thought, felt, feared, wished, etc. If worrying about your child’s safety would create a situation that would cause something like that, most children wouldn’t get past age one. What happened to these people is an example of many things … the failure of our legal system, the evil in the world, the tragedies that strike unexpectedly and without reason … but it is NOT an example of people creating their lives by what they think and feel. I could give a million examples of this. I’ll just name a few more briefly.  

Children who are born with birth defects, autism, and other health and physical challenges – they did not create that by their thinking and feeling … and their parents did not create that by their desire to have a healthy child. They might have made soul agreements, it might be by Divine Design, it might just be random, I have no idea. But those families didn’t ask for it or deserve it in any way. People who are bullied, victims of violence, oppressed, etc. are not the victims of their own thoughts and feelings. Whether we are talking individuals or groups, the Jewish people in Hitler’s Germany, the genocides of modern day Darfur, the enslavement of African Americans, modern day racism, the bashing of homosexuals, the discriminatory treatment of endless numbers of people and groups, the hateful treatment of fat people …  NONE of these groups or people created these atrocities, these systems of discrimination, oppression, prejudice, etc., by anything they ever thought or felt. If you try to apply the principles of The Secret, for example, to any of this stuff, it just doesn’t make any sense at all to me – in fact, it is cruel. It puts the blame and responsibility on the victims of cruelty and evil and fate, rather than squarely on the perpetrators and/or the capriciousness of Life, where it belongs.  

I have to go feed my Mom lunch now. She is disabled and can’t walk. Could her thoughts and feelings have contributed to her disease – to whatever is causing her neuropathy, her breast cancer, her legs not to work? Sure, that might have made a bit of a contribution … but maybe not at all.  She has certainly tried to take good care of herself – has eaten “right”, taken supplements, seen alternative health care practitioners (chiropractors, acupuncture, and many more) along with regular M.D.s her whole life.  Yet, here she is, having more health struggles than you can imagine. Some would blame her for the condition she is in. That is certainly tempting on a few levels. One, you don’t have to feel sorry or sympathy for her, she created it. Two, you don’t have to feel fear that this will ever happen to you – because you know you won’t create this for yourself.  Three, you don’t have to feel like life is out of your control – you can hold the illusion that all of the good that happens to you is because you have created it … and anything that goes sideways can still be fixed by changing your thinking. 

Well, that’s a comforting little illusion to have … until you get into a situation that isn’t changing no matter what you do … and then what? I don’t believe that Mom created this situation or attracted this to her. I believe that she has to deal with it to the best of her ability and to use all resources possible to heal. But “positive thinking” isn’t going to heal her. She’s a pretty positive person — or at least she was until all of this started happening. I’m quite sure it never occurred to her that the things that are happening to her body could have ever happened. She’d never even heard of neuropathy until she had it. And the way her legs have become deformed – it is unimaginable. She couldn’t have thought of it if she’d tried. I think that despite her frustrations, she’s doing pretty well emotionally for someone who went from very active to someone who can’t walk in such a short amount of time. And I’ll talk later another time about the horror of her breast cancer. I notice in myself that I feel much more compassion and patience for her if I’m not busy thinking that she is creating this by her thoughts/feelings. Blaming her hurts us both – I don’t need to be in judgment and frustrated with her. I feel much more peaceful within myself when I consider this to be an unfortunate turn of fate that has struck Mom.  Then I can lovingly help her to deal with where she is, rather than wishing she would think/feel the right things and heal herself. 

Okay, this is very complicated.  And I can’t do it justice in a little ole blog posting – but I’ll give it my best shot. [2020 notes: these thoughts/beliefs below are what I’m referring to in my current post as damaging belief systems. These superstitions have plagued me for decades. I refuse to be their prisoner any longer.] I do believe that thoughts are things. I do believe that words have power. I do believe that we create what we think about … sometimes.  And sometimes, stuff just happens, both “good” and “bad.” I am very careful with my words, generally speaking. For example, I cringe when my Mom says things such as, “I can’t walk.” Even when it is already true – I wouldn’t ever want to say something like that – to me, it’s sort of a superstition. I never say things like “I don’t have enough money” – even writing it as an example makes me want to write repeatedly that “I have more than enough money to meet all of my needs.”  [A little input from 2020: My affirmations did not work. I don’t have enough money. I’ve been struggling and going under. I just got a new job. I hope that I will soon have enough money and be financially secure. It isn’t dangerous to be honest about these things. I’m not cursing myself. The damage already happened and it wasn’t because of my thoughts/feelings.] So, obviously, I do have some belief in these sorts of things – that you create what you believe, etc. It’s easier to see in some ways – if you have a good attitude, even when things go wrong, they don’t seem so bad as when you have a “poor me” attitude. And I’ve certainly watched as things spiraled out of control when someone had a negative experience and made it ten times worse than it had to be because they got so upset about it. But not everything is so neatly packaged. Not everything makes sense or has rhyme or reason. Not everything can be explained or understood. And it makes me a little nuts when people act like it all makes sense and it’s all within our control. It doesn’t and it isn’t.

Going to “The Secret” for a moment. They show a segment where this gay guy is repeatedly harassed and life is hard … until he discovers the secret and then suddenly things change for him. People stop harassing him, the co-workers who were mean get transferred, the others are nicer, etc. Life becomes good, all because he learned to change his thinking. Okay. I will agree that our thinking does influence our experience to some extent. And I will even agree that sometimes when we make a decision, forces in the Universe conspire to help us along the way, opportunities that we could have never imagined come to us, doors open, obstacles disappear, etc. Yes, that happens sometimes. It also doesn’t happen sometimes, for whatever reason.  I choose to believe that we are always led to our Highest Good – and if something doesn’t happen for us, then it wasn’t meant to be – there is a better plan for us. That may or may not be true– and I acknowledge that – but I find it comforting and not harmful, so I believe it. 

So, going back to this gay guy. His thinking didn’t just change the energy that he was attracting to him … it changed him. So, maybe he stopped acting like life was a downer or he had a chip on his shoulder, and had a better attitude and people started treating him better. And maybe it was all due to his change in thinking and that re-aligned the Universe as well as himself. But that doesn’t happen all of the time. And I think it is a little dangerous to promote the idea that it does – that it’s all within our control. The guy who created his ideal house – and was surprised to see the picture? What surprise?  That picture was in your mind. Do you know that when I do laundry, without even counting, I almost invariably pull the right amount of hangers that I need?  (And I don’t just pull all of the empty hangers, either). This happens because our minds notice and hold onto things that we are not even conscious of (at least, that’s my theory).  You can set a goal and create it, put energy into it and make it happen. And that works out sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t. Back to the “que sera, sera” theory of life.

I remember when I was a kid, I was so afraid of God. In church, they had taught us that if we dared to mock God or challenge God, that He could strike us dead on the spot. Well, you know human nature. So, we think the thing we are not supposed to think … and then wait for God to strike us dead. Of course, after many times of expecting the worst and finding it didn’t happen, you begin to wonder. If God even exists, in the form they have presented, then why isn’t He striking me down? And the preacher must be wrong or lying for some reason. Then you begin to stop being afraid and waiting for God to strike you down. It is very similar to this positive thinking/feeling approach. There is so much FEAR around these ideas … even when they are supposedly positive.

The modern day equivalent of that sort of fear is that if something bad is happening to me, I am creating it with my thoughts and feelings. Or if things are going well, I congratulate myself on that achievement and then fear accidentally having negative thoughts and creating negative things in my life. Then, when I actually do have a negative thought and/or emotion, I start waiting to be struck down. Or when I happily think of all the good that I could do if I won the lottery, I start waiting for that to happen. Only, I’m not getting struck down and I’m not winning the lottery (despite years of intense and happy planning). And if I did win the lottery, I wouldn’t believe that it was because of energy I put into it – it would be, I would think, because I was meant to win it and be a good steward of the money and do important things in the world with it. Most of the time, I don’t even buy a ticket. I once heard of someone who found a winning ticket, right out of the blue, was so surprised – hadn’t dreamed of it or even thought of it, hadn’t bought a ticket, hadn’t put any emotional energy into it at all – it just fell into his lap. How did that happen?

I sort of feel like if I’m meant to win the lottery, it will happen whether I think about it or not, whether I buy a ticket or not, and whether I put emotional energy into it or not.  Just like almost anything else. There may be a few examples of how people actually attract things to them, I don’t know.  But for me, all of those examples in the movie – they just show a willingness to open up, to receive ideas, to create certain things in their lives – and then it is a combination of all kinds of factors and forces that make it happen. And the thing that strikes me is that these extraordinary stories, they happen to less than one/100th percent of the population. Or, if you look at it another way, they happen to nearly everyone. I’m not sure which way to look at it. We are all blessed in our own way and suffer in our own way, to greater and lesser degrees. Synchronicity and coincidence and serendipity and all of those things are happening all of the time. I don’t think we have to think the “right” things or feel the “right” feelings for that to happen. However, if we are looking for it, aware of it, we are more likely to see it. That much is true. 

 As for “what you resist, persists” and “what you push against, pushes back”: well, for one thing, often what you ignore persists too. For another, thank goodness that the great leaders of social change didn’t let that little adage stop them. Whether peaceful warriors or fierce warriors, politicians, religious leaders, private citizens, soldiers, heroes, freedom fighters, Civil Rights leaders, feminists, humanitarians, people such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Billie Jean King, etc., the list is endless of people who have made a difference – they all did indeed resist systems of oppression, discrimination, violence, classism, sexism, etc. Some things need to be resisted. Some things don’t change without a fight. Some things are worth fighting about and for, and some aren’t. The “Serenity Prayer” comes to mind as one of the most sane policies that one can have: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” When I go off on my benders about everything that pisses me off in the world – I may be lacking the wisdom to realize what I cannot change. I certainly could be putting my energies to better use. And some of the things I cannot change – I think there is still validity in fighting them – because even if I don’t change them in my lifetime, I may have started chipping away at a system that will change at some point in the future. I mean, somebody had to start saying the earth was not flat, that in fact it was round.  

I’m running out of steam here at the moment.  This is a fun discussion for me and if anyone wants to talk, debate, share, whatever … I’m happy to continue the conversation.  I don’t have any of the answers here – just some observations and questions.  I know I tend to write authoritatively – that’s just training – it was pounded into me in high school – why bother to try to make a point if you’re going to sound wishy-washy?  So, I write like I know what I’m talking about even when I’m just asking questions and giving opinions.  I don’t mean to invalidate anybody’s belief systems.  I’m just saying things how I see them. What’s your take on all of this?

Posted in challenges, finding my way, honesty and integrity, law of attraction, personal journey, spirituality | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Following My Soul’s Calling

I have just published a 3 book series that will be growing in time. It is called The Sexuality Reclamation Project for Women – and as I look back upon my life, I can see that everything in my life has been leading me to this work. There is an intricate web of people, places, situations, and circumstances that have all brought me to this point: my soul’s calling.

I originally wrote the initial book 20 years ago when I was in Energy Healing school, shortly after my first divorce. I was supposed to be writing a thesis and I was so inspired with what I was writing that it got way out of control and turned into a book.

I was afraid to even try to publish it at the time, since I had a young child at home and the book was about sexuality – and that combination scared me, particularly since some of my ideas/philosophies are unconventional, and custody issues seemed potentially at risk – a risk I was not willing to take. I did, bravely, write a workshop based on the book and presented it at a NAAFA convention. After that, I put the book in my closet (literally and figuratively) and there it sat until the pandemic.

A few weeks ago, I pulled out the workshop notes – and as I flipped through them, I thought, OMG!!! This would have helped me SOOOO much over these past 20 years if I’d just remembered these concepts and listened to my own advice! How could I have forgotten all of this?!?

I pulled out the book and reading through, decided to edit it and update it a little (although most of it is still totally relevant to today). I took the workshop notes and wrote a workbook to go along with the book, so that people could write their own thoughts and do their own explorations. (The workbook can stand on its own – and if you only get one, get that one!)

I’ve had many signs and amazing synchronicities along the way that this is the right path for me. Honestly, I’ve always known this was my path and my purpose – it’s just taken until now for me to be ready to fully step into it. I feel like my whole life has led straight to this moment – and I’m really excited to share this with the world and keep moving forward on this path.

These books are for you if you:
*have ever felt shame about your body and/or your sexuality
*have ever struggled with body image issues
*have ever felt “wronged” for your relationship and/or your relationship choices and/or your sexuality
*have ever sought intimacy in ways that were damaging and painful to yourself and/or others
*have ever felt unworthy of love, sex, intimacy, respect, consideration, etc.
*have ever struggled with boundaries – or felt like you lost your Self when you were in a relationship
*have ever been confused about what you want in life, love, sex, and/or relationship/s
*have lost connection with your own voice, your power, your inner spirit – and are ready to reclaim all of who you are – personally, sexually, and in relationship
*want to live your life more at choice and able to be more authentically you

My books don’t give you answers – because your own answers are within you. They tell stories, share ideas, feelings, and questions – and ask you to look at and consider what is true for you. My goal is to create safe space so that you feel empowered and able to step more fully into your own authenticity and truth. I want you to celebrate your Self and create your own happy, fulfilling life! What is your soul calling for you?

The books are available now both on Kindle or in paperback. I recommend paperback for the workbook so that you can write directly into it – it’s definitely interactive! If this interests you, please check it out – and share it with any women you know who might benefit from this!

These past few months, I’d been lamenting being unable to find a job. All of those closed doors make sense now – they gave me the time to do this. I’m now grateful for this opportunity to follow my soul’s path. It feels amazing how many things have lined up since I committed to this in the past few weeks. They say that when you make a choice, the Universe steps up to help you along your way. I have certainly felt that! I’m feeling in the Divine Flow right now, looking forward to seeing where my path will lead. I hope maybe my work will help you to find your path, your truth, your best life.

Please share and feel free to contact me in the comments below or via the contact page on my website.

Posted in authenticity, body celebration, body positive, codependency, finding my way, healthy boundaries, honesty and integrity, relationship red flags | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Arrogance and Ignorance of Privilege

I lived in a bubble of financial privilege for a long time. And then I fell out. I grew up in an upper middle class family in a wealthy suburb. As a kid, I couldn’t always get what I wanted, but I never actually wanted for anything. The only time I went hungry was voluntarily (when I was dieting). My parents bought me a car when I was 16. They paid for my college tuition. Yes, I was pretty spoiled – and I was grateful, but I had no idea of the magnitude of my privilege.

Throughout my young adulthood, I struggled a little bit financially – and it was scary, but never truly threatening. I knew that if I needed help, it would be there for me. My parents would catch me if I fell. In fact, when I was going through my first divorce, I moved back home with my daughter to live with my Mom. We ended up staying there and caring for her in the last few years of her life. She left me some money, but through a series of events, including another divorce and a dance with cancer, that money was gone. I was left without a safety net for the first time in my life. I’d had no idea how scary that would be – I think I’d been afraid to even imagine it. Yes, I recognize how privileged all of that was for me – how many people have never had a safety net in their whole lives.

After foolishly investing the little money I had left in an invention of mine that I was sure would make me rich, I was forced into bankruptcy. At the time, I was working 2-3 part-time jobs in addition to my full-time job just to make ends meet. Obviously, none of the jobs paid a decent, living wage – even though they should have. I wasn’t living an extravagant lifestyle. I wasn’t going out to eat very often – and when I did, I didn’t order anything expensive – I spent less than $10. I wasn’t wasting money. I wasn’t buying new clothes or shoes or anything. My rent wasn’t even that high. But it took everything I had just to pay my bills. A year after that, I got a job teaching high school. It paid a little better, so I only had to have one part-time job on the side. I was able to save enough to get through summers, but not enough to save for retirement. Being single and trying to support myself feels impossible. If you’re not sharing expenses with someone, you have to make a lot of money to make it on your own. Way more than I’ve ever made.

I left teaching with the thought that I’d go into full-time massage therapy when I moved from Florida to Colorado. That’s when the pandemic hit. I finished the school year on zoom, then headed west. As a high risk person, it wasn’t safe to work as a massage therapist, so I’ve spent the past 4 1/2 months unsuccessfully looking for a job online. That 4 1/2 months have eaten up my savings – because my bills kept coming even though my income didn’t – and now I’m down to having just enough to pay one more month of expenses – and then I’ll be out of money completely.

Now, I know that in “The Law of Attraction” and a lot of metaphysical belief systems, you’re not ever supposed to say that you don’t have money. You’re not ever supposed to reinforce anything that you don’t want. I’m supposed to say something like, “I live in an abundant Universe and all of my needs and desires are always taken care of.” (A paraphrase of something like Louise Hay would have said). And while that may be true – and while Life may bless me with an amazing job next week and all will work out for me – and while the reality is that in this moment I have everything I need – the other reality is that I’m looking very closely at running out of money completely, losing my car, and defaulting on my other bills – and then what happens to me? That, or risking my life going to work as a massage therapist – which honestly is probably what I’ll do because the other I just can’t face. I hope I survive.

My point here, though, is that when I tell people I don’t have money for things, like to attend an online meeting, for example – some of them don’t believe me. They think that I’m holding back my money so that I can still get Starbucks (which I’ve rarely ever gotten in my entire life and am definitely not getting now) or so that I can buy a 6-pack of beer or a bottle of wine – or that there is some way that I could make it happen if I really wanted to. Like, these people have no concept of what it means to have no available money – money that isn’t already marked for bills and that is running out quickly. No concept and no compassion – and it’s starting to get on my nerves. All of these assumptions people make about money – and about the people who have it and the people who don’t, the people who deserve it and the people who don’t, the people who’ve “earned” it and the people who haven’t – are so annoying – and all of it is, frankly, bullshit.

I’m not happy about my situation, but I’m not ashamed of it either. I know there are people who judge me. They don’t know anything about me or my life. They’d judge me even more if they knew I am on food stamps and medicaid. I can’t be bothered to care what they think – I’m just trying to survive here. Which is a position that too many Americans – and people around the world – are finding ourselves in. The economic disparities we are currently living in are staggering and unacceptable and, in many cases, infuriating. Bringing it back down to a more personal level, assumptions about my “laziness” or “irresponsibility” and other character flaws are inaccurate and grossly unfair – and there’s nothing I can do about that.

I just want to say this to anyone who thinks that I could afford something if I truly wanted it – if I would just give up all of the extravagances of my life: there are no extravagances. There haven’t been for a long time. A lot of people barely have enough money to survive. A lot of people are in insurmountable debt. I’m grateful to not carry a lot of debt – that was one hard lesson I learned from bankruptcy. I just wish I could get people to see that not being able to afford things doesn’t mean that someone is being wasteful or irresponsible with their money. Especially now, with unemployment so high, try to understand – even if you can’t imagine yourself in that position – try to understand what it would be like to lose your job, to not have the money to pay your bills, to lose your home, to lose your car, to not have the money for food or shelter. A lot of us are right there – not through any fault of our own, but due to a convergence of circumstances, including a pandemic and a lack of economic justice. Try to understand that and have compassion for people who aren’t in the fortunate position of being financially secure or comfortable.

I hadn’t intended to talk about politics in this post, but as I near the end, it seems relevant to point out that instead of working on a plan to help individuals and families who find themselves in situations like mine during this time of pandemic (or just passing the one the House has put before them), the United States Senate has decided to spend their time ramming through a nominee for the Supreme Court who the majority of American citizens do not want. She is unqualified for that position – as are the vast majority of Trump’s nominees for anything – as is he, completely unfit for the office that he stole. If they succeed, there will go my medicaid and I, along with millions of Americans, will no longer have access to health care at all.

Additionally, way back when the Senate did address financial aid for the country – they chose to give most of it to big corporate interests – in addition to enriching themselves, their families and friends – to the tune of millions of dollars. All while giving the citizens of this country a measly one-time $1200. If they had even just continued that amount monthly until the pandemic had passed (which already would have happened if Trump and Kushner hadn’t messed it up so badly), that would have helped immensely. Some income is vastly preferable to no income! All of that stimulus money should have gone to citizens, not to corporations and people who are already flush with money.

I’ve heard some talk about a universal basic income. I like that idea – and look forward to its development and unfoldment in the future. Imagine making it so that everyone has at least what they need to survive – to provide themselves with food and shelter. Imagine a world where prices aren’t skyrocketing to enrich the pockets of the already super-rich, but instead are fair and equitable. Imagine a world where the Senate actually works FOR the PEOPLE, rather than to enrich and advantage themselves and their corrupt friends. Imagine a world where people don’t make assumptions about each other based on finances. I’m imagining that world. I hope we’re all moving toward that world. I hope for myself – and for everyone else – that each of us can find a satisfying, well-paying job that allows us to live comfortably and to have financial security now and for our futures.

Posted in assumptions, authenticity, challenges, finances, money, politics, poverty | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Importance of Being Able to Receive

I’m a stubborn one – a Taurus bull who’s always felt like I needed to do things for myself, on my own, without help. My self-image is as the strong one, the healer, the nurturer, the helper. I realize intellectually that the key in relationships is to keep it mutual – to give AND receive – however, my core issue of feeling like I’m “more trouble than I’m worth” has made asking for help or even accepting help (or anything) feel nearly unbearable. I’ve worked on the whole vulnerability thing and I’ve heartily embraced awkward and I’ve cultivated deep self-love – but the area that has eluded me until recently has been being able to receive, being able to feel valued and loved by others, without offering anything other than my presence.

I was able to skate by in life with this attitude for a long while because my parents were very generous and they were the one source from whom I wasn’t afraid to receive. I knew they loved me. Even then, though, I still felt like I had to be the “perfect” kid, had to please them in order to “earn” whatever they gave me, including love. My dad was wonderful in ways, but also an alcoholic – and I definitely have the people-pleasing, codependent scars from that relationship. Since my parents have been gone, I’ve felt very much on my own – and my inability to ask for what I need or to receive has become an issue.

I like thinking of myself as generous. I was helping out friends even as I was rapidly heading on my own way toward bankruptcy. I had this cock-eyed optimism that everything would work out. It didn’t from my human perspective. I suppose it totally worked out from the Universe’s perspective. I hit bottom and had to accept help.

I keep asking the Universe to teach me gently, but apparently I haven’t been a great student because the lessons have been ridiculously brutal – and, to be honest, my stubbornness has barely cracked (but it has cracked – and now I’m working on it even more). Losing my Mom 12 years ago was the hardest – that still stings me to my core. That was followed by my (then) husband running off with another woman 8 years ago. Intellectually I knew even from the first day that was the best thing for my life – it was still a lot to deal with emotionally.

I was still okay handling things on my own, thinking I could manage by myself … until 5 years ago, when I was diagnosed with cancer – and had to have surgery across the country from where I was living. I was forced to rely on friends for weeks to take me into their homes and help me through my recovery. I was too weak to offer anything back – and was already running low on money, so couldn’t even pay them anything – all I could do was receive. Talk about humbling!

I’d barely recovered when I could no longer afford my house and was forced to sell. I had to rely on the kindness of friends who rented me a room in their home. For many reasons, that was a challenging situation. One of the big reasons, that I haven’t acknowledged to myself until now, is that I felt so fortunate to be there that I didn’t have any boundaries – or feel like I had any right to say anything about, well, anything. (The topic of boundaries is something I’ll need to explore in another post.)

I guess the Universe was sick of my refusal to stand up for myself or to ask for what I needed, because a year later, I was (literally) pushed to my knees when I fell and broke both arms at the same time. I had to have plates and screws put into both arms and was completely dependent on other people to take care of me. Fortunately for me, a friend who was a retired nurse took me in to her home and took care of me until I recovered. Understand, without hands, I couldn’t go to the bathroom by myself, I couldn’t eat by myself, I couldn’t shower by myself. Total dependence on her for weeks! Unthinkable, really. That’s how drastic the Universe had to get with me!

I broke my arms right when I was launching my business, promoting my “great” invention, which I’m still feeling a little bitter about – because I felt so guided to invest my time, energy, and money into this invention – I fully believed in it and put my all into it – and then I didn’t feel like the Universe lived up to their end of the bargain. Of course, I didn’t really ask for help – and wouldn’t have known how to accept it if it were offered, so I do accept some responsibility there, I suppose. Still, the Universe could have opened the right doors for me and made it happen! I definitely did the leg work!

Not the best day of my life, but important lessons came from it.

That’s not what happened. I was forced into bankruptcy and have struggled ever since to make ends meet. Now, I’m unemployed because of the pandemic. I’ve been applying to jobs online for four months now (since my teaching job ended) – no doors have opened even though I’m totally qualified, even over-qualified, for most of the jobs I’ve applied for. Like, how does a former high school teacher not get hired to be a tutor? Seriously? I feel like I have all of these talents, gifts, and abilities – and yet …?

I started my professional website (if you build it, they will come) – to no avail (yet). I’ve been living with my daughter and her boyfriend, for which I am very grateful. I feel ridiculous because I can’t contribute financially. I’m about to move to the home of a friend who is taking me in. I am on Medicaid and EBT – something unimaginable to me before, but I have no choice right now. There’s a good chance that could all get canceled if the Republicans get their way. I am fortunate in that I could get a job as a massage therapist any time – it would mean risking my life, but it’s an option. If no other doors open for me, I suppose it’s an option the Universe wants me to take! [update: tried that, had a panic attack and couldn’t do it – it’s definitely not an option].

I’ve been hoping/praying for my Soul Mate to show up. I don’t know where the hell he is! <eye roll> Maybe waiting for me to raise my vibration so that I can accept him and his kindness and generosity – and feel worthy of all of it. I just wish he’d show up and help me figure all of that out with me – rather than making me wait and figure it out on my own. I’m so, so tired of trying to make it on my own (which is not at all to discount the wonderful people in my life, I just deeply want to have a partner with whom to share my life).

There are lessons for me here, I know it. I want to “get it” before the lessons become harder! Here’s what I’ve got so far and what I’m doing:

I know I need to get past the idea of my worthiness being tied to what I can give or what I have to offer. I know I need to believe that I deserve love and all good things just because I exist. I know I need to be open to receiving blessings and goodness from whatever sources the Universe uses to deliver good, abundance, and love. I know I need to learn to ask, to include myself, to let people know what I need and feel. That hasn’t been easy for me. It’s way out of my comfort zone.

Until now, I’ve tended to feel like I was standing on the sidelines of life, watching. When I’ve chosen to participate has only been when I’ve had something to offer, a way to be helpful – even if only making someone else feel welcomed and valued. Otherwise, I’ve generally kept to myself – not wanting to appear needy or greedy, not wanting to be a burden or to feel unwanted – and also not wanting to feel over-obligated (which is a whole other topic too). Generally, people haven’t pushed me away (although that has happened too) – I’ve held myself apart out of fear. You’d never know it because when I was in high school and utterly terrified, I perfected the art of looking like I was completely confident. I’ve spent the last 25 years or so trying to unmask myself and live authentically. It’s still challenging.

I’ve joined a couple of online communities that are feeding my soul and lifting my spirits. In the past few months, I’ve been kindly and generously gifted a variety of things including classes, events, webinars – even a Starbuck’s gift card! I’ve been saying “yes!” and being grateful both to the people for their gifts, and also to the Universe for the abundance and blessings in my life.

I’ve been blessed with so much inspiration, connection, and community. I’m learning to allow myself to feel a sense of belonging, something which had mostly eluded me until now – even when I was in groups that were about love and connection and belonging. (Did I mention that I’m stubborn?)

I’m learning to allow myself to feel loved and valued. When my daughter got angry the other day and was defending me (my health/life ) because someone was planning to come over and she didn’t want them to because it was too great a risk for me – that floored me. She values my life and well-being more than I do! I haven’t felt that strongly about standing up for myself or my life since I was a kid. I would do that for others, but not for me. So, there’s something else there for me to learn too.

I need to get my act together in a hurry because I truly don’t want another tough lesson! Working on it. What are you working on? Feel free to comment below! We’re all in this together – even though it so often seems like we’re alone, doesn’t it? We’re not – and I believe that on a cosmic level, the events going on in the world right now are giving us the lessons of learning to create and be in community, learning to reach out to each other – not just to help, but also to receive, to feel like our lives are worth fighting for, and to allow ourselves to feel loved – not for what we can do or offer, but just for being ourselves.

Posted in authenticity, challenges, codependency, finding my way, gratitude, personal journey, Uncategorized, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Settling For Less In Relationships: The Unexpected Potential Damage of Affairs

One of my friends is thinking about having an affair with a married man. Been there, done that – a few times. That’s actually how I got my start in the world of “love” – with devastating effects upon my life. My senior year of high school, when my self-esteem was low, boys were ignoring me, and my dad flat out told me that I wasn’t “the type of woman men wanted” (I think in his misguided and catastrophically failing way, he was trying to protect me) – my favorite high school teacher and my dad’s best friend both hit on me. Unfortunately rather than being offended and indignant at the presumptuousness and misogynistic privilege, I was flattered and excited.

I justified it to myself by saying that I was actually helping their marriages. I didn’t want to keep them, just to have fun with them. If they were having affairs with other women, the other women might try to take them away from their families. I wouldn’t do that. So, I was the “safe” alternative. I made them happy – they went home and were nicer to their wives. Wives whom, I was told, were not interested in sex anymore. In one case, I literally watched his wife push him away from her countless times when he tried to hug her or be affectionate with her. I wasn’t taking anything they wanted. Win-win-win as far as I was concerned. How naive I was in so many ways!

It didn’t occur to me until I was married and being denied sex by my husband – and then learned that he was telling other women that I was a lesbian and wasn’t interested in sex with him – that men lie about their wives. He would apologize for not being the husband he “should be” to me because of all of the stress of sick parents, etc. – and then go online and set up hookups or go out to bars and pick up women. He had a whole double life with another woman who knew all about me and my life – but I didn’t know about her until after he left me for a different other woman. He’d been with his secret lover for six years. She was actually pissed at him that he left me for this new other woman! I know because I figured out who she was (I’d met her once) and found her on Facebook and asked if she’d be willing to talk with me. We talked for over an hour. I learned a lot about my life through her. Point being: the capacity of men to look you in the eyes and lie obscenely is endless. As is, apparently, my capacity to believe lies and ignore red flags (I am improving immensely!).

Regardless of whether the man is telling the truth about his wife not wanting to be sexual with him, the fact is that unless you talk to her and confirm that she’s okay with his being with you, then he is lying to her – and you are part of the lie. You may be okay with that. I was okay with that for many years. But then I stopped being okay with it because I didn’t want to have to hide any part of me, lie about anything, or live inauthentically. The cost to my integrity and peace of mind was too great. But that’s not all.

You see, I was lying to myself for all of those years that I had sex without commitments, without strings attached, without being deeply loved and cherished. I told myself that I was having fun and that I didn’t want more. LIE! There has never been a time I can remember that I haven’t wanted to be in love with my Soul Mate – all in forever. I pushed that dream aside, called it unrealistic – and settled for what I thought I could get. All I got from that was disappointment, bewilderment, and an increasing lack of self-esteem and self-worth – why couldn’t anyone really love me? Why couldn’t anyone see the magic in me and want to spend their life with me? I finally realized that settling for these crumbs of affection was harming me – that I needed to hold out for what I really wanted – love, commitment, respect, kindness, generosity.

Personally, I don’t find casual sex fun or rewarding. I mean, yes, in the moment it might feel good – but afterwards, it doesn’t feel good at all to me. I know that it does feel great for some people – and good for them! We all feel what we feel. I can’t give my friend advice on whether to go for it or not. All I can say is that I wouldn’t. It’s not enough for me. I’d rather be alone and not dealing with the inevitable drama of my feelings of wanting more after happy intimate encounters with someone. I guess it mostly just depends on our knowing ourselves and how we manage our emotions. There are all sorts of reasons that people cheat – some seem legit to me and some are 100% on the bullshit-o-meter. The real question is: do you really want to be involved with that energy of deception? I know I don’t! And that’s not a “moral” choice – but rather a practical one – I like to be able to look at myself in the mirror and feel grounded, in integrity with myself, and calm inside.

One way of being in integrity with myself is knowing myself – truly seeing what matters to me, what I want, what living authentically looks like for me. I’ve needed to spend time by myself so that I could understand what it feels like to be grounded, calm, and powerful in my own energy and life. I’ve needed time to work through some traumas and cut loose old baggage. I no longer need a relationship to make me whole or to “complete me” or to make my life happier. I am strong in my Self, happy in my life. Yes, I would love to welcome my Soul Mate into my life and share the rest of my life with him. I’m not sure if that will ever happen. I’m not holding my breath. What I’m relatively sure of (not 100%, but close) is that I won’t settle for less. I find being by myself to actually feel a lot better than the crumbs of affection (sexually speaking) that I used to settle for. I want it all – the love, commitment, all in – or nothing. I think most people don’t feel that way. That’s okay. I get to be me – nobody else has to agree. You be you – I’ll be me.

I once thought that sex could just be fun and I didn’t need to worry about what it was doing to me emotionally. That thinking created a lot of chaos in my emotional life and even in my self identity. My awareness and beliefs have changed over the years. Now I choose to listen to my deepest longings – and there’s nothing casual about them. At this point, I’m willing to honor that. I really like being off of the emotional roller coaster. I’m not here to debate the ethical or moral implications of having affairs – that’s way too complicated a topic with endless nuances. I’m just stating what I’m finding to be true for me. Feel free to state what’s true for you in the comments below. And if you happen to know a good man in his 50’s who’s looking for his Soul Mate … LOL – you never know! 🙂

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