Archive for the ‘Introspection’
This is an excerpt from my Master’s thesis titled “Erotic Embodiment and Integration of Soul, Spirit, and Body: Toward a Sacred Erotic Psychology Healing Praxis,” it is a piece from the Introduction
To say it is difficult to write about embodiment is an understatement. Writing is a tool of the mind and splits us off from bodily experience. Language cannot fully capture the essence of being embodied, of being in a body, or of bodily sensations and emotions, but it can try. For the most part, language brings us out of our bodies and puts us apart from ourselves, especially language in an academic framework where one is compelled to be aware of sentence structure, word choice, proper citation methods, and so on. The question of how I can write an academic work on embodiment is one I have been grappling with since before I began writing it. The language that most closely aligns with the body is imaginal and poetic. With exception of the praxis chapter, my use of poetic imaginal language has been limited. I have not engaged with the imaginal and poetic nearly enough. Here is an attempt.
I really value each of the realms of spirit, soul, and body and the various ways they each manifest in the world, and I know that of these three realms the body is the most denigrated. This culture has a body problem. It has a problem in all three realms, really, but the way we approach the body is so much more backwards and twisted in my experience. We do everything we can to avoid focusing on our bodies, and that includes me. I have spent a lot of my own life hating my body, treating it as separate from my essential self, or ignoring its needs, feelings, and warnings.
My body has stiffened from the chore of sitting in front of a computer, writing (or attempting to write), while fighting against all the internal blocks I have against doing this work, my work. I can feel it in my shoulders and the back of my neck in the tension that creeps its way up and down from my head to my lower back. I get hit with it when I stretch, arching my back to hear the cacophony of crunchy popping sounds as my vertebrae realign themselves, and suddenly the release of tension sends a momentary throbbing spiraling up all the way to my temples. I can feel it in my knees and hips, the way I hold myself as I walk, where on my feet I place emphasis. I can tell when I am resisting the process and when I am not coming to my work with all of my strength by the way that I sit, passively and slouched or tall and engaged. I can feel it in how I am holding my teeth and tongue, the crack of my jaw when I yawn, the bend of my left knee when I take a step (am I fully bending it, or dragging that foot as I move?), or the pop of my right ankle when I get a twinge or stiffness in it that needs to be rotated out. My body tells me things, and I choose to listen to it or not, though the more I do this work the less I can ignore it. I notice the tension, I breathe, I move.
I do not claim to be perfect at my own methods, or to have mastered embracing the theories and praxis described in this thesis. In fact, what is driving me to do the work that I am dedicated to doing in the world, the work that this thesis is but a fraction of, is my own struggles with embodiment, connection, and belonging. I have been experiencing my own process as I have been writing about it, articulating only as far as I have been able to traverse my own self. Thus through this process I have had to feel my way through it just as much as I have had to work my way through it. I have had to nurture my own self, to build up the strength and self-love and self-compassion. To bring awareness to the things that I do, conscious and unconscious, and the patterns that I am enacting and reenacting within myself and with my lovers, friends, and family. I have gone through some major shifts and realizations within myself through this process, and also know that it is not over. This is just the beginning.
In going through this process of embracing my emotions and letting them flow, of excavating my own shadow and my own past, of working to understand the patterns laid inside of me back in the time of childhood and pre-verbal processing that still run me, of attempting to experience exquisite embodiment of the Self that is called Tai in this incarnation, I have had to confront most if not all of the parts of myself that keep me back. My self-sabotage. As with everyone, all of my issues are interlocking, threads in the tapestry of my life that interact and intersect, not just discrete problems that can be approached completely independently of each other. I have had to face head-on my own fear, grief, shame, anger, some nasty patterns of internalized oppression and repression. I have had to confront my fear of taking up my own space and what it looks like to put something so large as a personal sacred erotic manifesto into the world. This work details the entirety (so far) of my life’s purpose and my understanding of spirituality, sexuality, psychology, and their interactions with each other, and I am really taking up my own space by declaring my own mastery of it. I have also had to process and move through the grief I experienced surrounding the very sudden death of my father, and the emotional and psychological patterns instilled in me generationally and personally through him. I have recognized the shame I have held on to around being my true authentic self in a society that reviles people like me in multiple intersections of my identity. I have had moments of intense jealousy and shame around my relationship with my primary partner, and due to our interlocking patterns around intimacy and attraction we have, on occasion, fallen down the rabbit hole of destructive behavior.
Shame has been a large factor in my excavation process, and shame is necessary to face when doing this work. Emotions are necessary to face when doing this work of the body. To this end the work of Brene Brown and Karla McLaren have been indispensable to me. I have realized the amount of emotion processing that goes on in the face of change, and know that is a vital aspect of becoming. All emotions are particularly powerful, necessary, and important. They each have a reason for coming up when they do and a particular purpose or gift to share with us, if we are open to them. This entire thesis process has been an emotional one, and has impacted my body as such.Labels: becoming, becoming a sex educator, being-becoming-itself, connection, education, embodiment, endings are also new beginnings, endless amounts of change, erotic embodiment, Erotic Embodiment and Integration of Soul Spirit and Body: Toward a Sacred Erotic Psychology Healing Praxis, Graduate School, growth requires the temporary suspension of security, I've maybe actually figured things out, learning, overthinking overanalyzing separates the body from the mind, poetry, poetry is not a luxury, pregnant with grad school, processing through writing, psychology, ride the spiral to the end, Sacred Erotic Psychology, sacred erotic somatic psychology, that thing I've been working on for over nine months, the only way through it is through it, thesis baby, thesis excerpt
I am dying. I am dying. I am dead. Pulling parts of myself away from the tangled mess I have weaved together throughout all these years. Endless pain and discomfort in the name of growth and abundance. What needs to die? What needs to be reborn? Strips of self that I have taken the time to mold out of experiences now need to be carefully separated from the rest of me, the parts that are useful stay, the parts that hold me back must go. Where do I go?
My back is hurting from stress, from the weight of the words that need to come out of me, but that I am having a difficult time getting onto the page. I cannot sit in this chair in a way that does not hurt me, it seems, in a way that keeps me embodied. I am out of my body, attempting to be in my mind only while writing about embodiment. How does that work?
I am carving out my space in the world. Bringing pieces together from culturally disparate places and creating a whole. At the same time I am digging deeper into myself and carving out spaces in my psyche where I can fit as well. I don’t fit anymore. I need to take what does not work and transmute it into something that does. I take myself apart so I may be whole.
My body is uncomfortable. I have a weeks-long headache of exhaustion and perfectionism. Yes, I’m having a hard time giving that up. It’s coming to the point where I do not have a choice.
I am weaving together my own ideology, my own theology, my own sacred sexology. Embracing on all the strength I have in order to focus and get this done, and it is not enough. It will be enough. Eventually it will be enough, as long as I can die. As long as I can clear this channel, get rid of this blockage, let this part of me go, it will be enough. I am enough.
My body is here. I am here. I am whole.Labels: death and rebirth, growth requires the temporary suspension of security, poetry is not a luxury, school, the only thing constant
Instead of attempting to do a catch-up post before I write the “real” post by trying to recap all the things that have happened since the last time so many ages ago that I posted on here, I just need to write. I’ve been doing so much writing the last few years, but so little personal writing. Grad school has sucked up all my writing time and now that I’m writing my thesis I’m going a little bit insane. I am having a difficult time getting words down on the page, however, and I’m hoping that a bit of a free write will assist with that.
I’m struggling. As always, it seems. I have had so many epiphanies and breakthroughs and beginnings of changing long-ingrained patterns, but it never seems like it is enough. And I suppose it will never be enough, because if it was I would have nothing else to work on or nowhere else to grow. I would like a breather, however. Can’t there just be a time with a bit of a relaxing, settling down, and not working on any major shit? No? Okay.
I’ve changed so much in the last few years, even just in the last year. I used to be terrified of, well, just about everything. Of myself. Of other people. Of getting what I want. Of my own power. I’ve been on a path of discovering and rediscovering my own personal power and shedding those things that have been in the way of my embracing and expressing it. My pathways were clogged for so long, and finally some bits of my own light are able to come through them and shine out of them. Still not all of them are clear, and others are gathering new gunk, but that is one of the continual processes.
Golden Dawn spiritual work, grad school, my father’s death, relationship changes, explorations in polyamory, coming into my own as a Hierophant and High Priestess, all these things have shifted and changed me internally to the point of sometimes I actually realize how strong and competent I am. Other times I am still frightened of the world and my part in it. I’m still insecure. I’m still socially anxious, self-deprecating, and uncertain of myself a lot of the time. I have worked on and healed a lot of wounds and changed old patterns for the better, but I still fall into the old pit of depression sometimes.
Aside from the stress of school and relationships, however, I am arguably the most content and least depressed that I have ever been, or at least for as long as I can remember. I am doing my work in the world, and sometimes failing at it. I am at least moving toward my work in real and tangible ways, and getting better at what I do.
I am not as enlightened or close to my ideal self as I would like to be, but I’m at least working on it. That is something. I’m grateful for the chance to be getting this really ridiculous self-designed degree in a subject that doesn’t even seem realistic or plausible to the majority of the world. I realize the privilege in that and am astounded by it. I think I’m calling it Sacred Erotic Psychology now, though even that isn’t quite right. It’s gone though a bunch of different iterations.
Relationships are consistently a struggle right around the end of the quarter. It’s like all the stress likes to get saved up until right at the end. So that’s fun. Onyx and I have had some rough patches in the last few months specifically, though we always go through alternating rough and smooth times, as is the nature of long-term relationships it seems. We had a period of really great connecting after a major shake-up in our relationship due to a rather major breaking of our agreements just before the end of last quarter. We both have come to a lot of insights of our own patterns in relationships and the patterns in our relationship with each other that we need and want to break. It has been really useful and there have been lots of growing pains. The period of connecting was really lovely and some of the best moments of our relationship in recent memory, but that too was broken and we’re now in a slightly awkward phase again. Yet not as awkward as a lot of the last year has been, so I don’t know. Only now there is a limited amount of time and energy available to really get back to smooth due to thesis writing.
So. Thesis. Yes. I need to be writing about the theoretical orientations that are foundational to my thesis, as well as historical background related to the body that informs my thesis, and the beginnings of articulating my own theoretical synthesis as well as my praxis approach. It’s a lot.
My current thesis statement/elevator speech is this: I am articulating how I as a practitioner can present eroticism as an embodied experience of love that promotes and nurtures intra-, inter-, and trans-personal connections. By integrating our embodied and mythological experience of our minds, hearts, and body/genitals though the process of identifying the disconnected parts needing to be integrated and using a variety of psychological and bodywork techniques to foster mutually beneficial relationships between ourselves and these parts we move toward experiencing and expressing our Whole Erotic Self through embodied sovereignty. This is important because loving connection and embodied erotic experiences can advance our own developmental learning, enhance our quality of life, and benefit the earth.
Not bad, right?Labels: change, connection, depression, exploration, Graduate School, growth requires the temporary suspension of security, learning, life, love, loving, poly, polyamory, psychology, relationships, Sacred Erotic Psychology, sacred erotic somatic psychology, struggle, the only thing constant, thoughts, what am I calling my degree again?, will
For those of you who don’t know, I have been attending Antioch University since the Fall of 2011 working on a self-designed Masters program in Psychology. Last Wednesday, the 12th, I had my Application Project Plan Approval Degree Committee Meeting (yes, apparently the name is that long). I met with the three other people who will be assessing, evaluating, and helping me through the process of my Applied Thesis in my last three quarters at Antioch.
My plan for my thesis was approved, which means that today I am submitting the syllabus for the next three quarters of my Application Project! This is a big deal.
This means I am nearly at the end of my time at Antioch and will, at the end of the year, have a Masters in Integrative Studies in Psychology, focusing on Sacred Erotic Somatic Psychology. I plan to graduate at the end of Fall Quarter 2014.
The proposed timeline is: I will begin working on my Applied Thesis next quarter, starting in April, and I will finish in December, giving me nine months to work through the nine credits of my Application Project. I have been referring to this as my Grad School Pregnancy (“I’m pregnant with grad school,” I’ve been saying) and I plan to birth my Thesis Baby in December.
This also means that my time from now until December, with the exception of the breaks between quarters, will be extremely limited. I don’t yet know if this will be more limited than it has been in previous quarters, but I imagine that may likely be true.
I do at some point want to get back into writing on here on a regular basis and reviewing on my other site. I have aspirations, but I will likely not have time for that until December.Labels: Graduate School, pregnant with grad school, sacred erotic somatic psychology, school, thesis baby, will, work
I miss the feeling of steel encircling my neck. The weight of it made it difficult for me to sleep on my back, and I still have difficulty sleeping that way, even though it has now been over nine months since I last wore it. It lost its meaning long before that, though.
The garnets inlaid in the steel ring began falling out of it months before it stopped living on my neck. We replaced them, one by one, but they never stayed in place for very long. I knew that their falling out marked that the power dynamic we had crafted and worked to forge over so many years was beginning to end. We were both so tired of pushing and pulling and talking and talking and talking but never seeming to ever get what either of us wanted or needed from the other. There were problems and circumstances, as there always are. I’m sure I could have done many things better, but it was what it was.
I have only ever been good at service and surrender in my imagination, which was a large part of the problem. The reality of it has never quite worked out the way I see in my head. There is part of me that still yearns for it, though, that has always yearned for it. I’m yearning for it especially now that it has been absent for so long.
I’ve changed so much in the last few years, and so much more in the nine years since we first talked and in the nine months since I’ve not been wearing his collar. I wonder if I could do it right the next time, if I could dedicate myself to serving in whatever way I could make work. I wonder if I could surrender myself in the way that I crave and fantasize about. Or am I too stubborn, too bratty, too unreliable and unwieldy to ever experience what I really want. I wonder if I could actually do it, and I think I have changed enough that I could. I am better at relationships now, better at knowing and communicating my own desires. I have had glimpses of it in myself and see the potential of it there, but it’s never panned out in the past.
I’ve been working consciously on vulnerability, on opening up, on surrendering, but all of it outside of the confines of a power dynamic. I think that has been good in some ways, but the submission dimension of my life has been shut off for too long. I couldn’t make it work in the years that we tried, and so I abandoned the wanting of it long before nine months ago. In the last nine months, though, I let myself forget what it felt like to kneel at the feet of someone and pour myself into their hands. I let myself forget what it felt like to have consistent subtle reminders of being owned and loved in that way all in order to not allow myself to feel the pain of the loss of it.
I miss feeling owned. Claimed. Held. Treasured.
I want to sink into the comfort of the will of someone else and put myself aside with the trust that I will also be taken care of. In my work I get to do some of that now. I get to focus on what is best for them and put myself aside, but the reciprocity is purposefully not there. In the rest of my life, though, that aspect of it has fallen away.
I wonder if I have the time to add it back in, though. That’s the rub right there, I think: time. It seems that this would need to be with someone new. I’m fairly certain none of the people I’m currently seeing have the craving in them to be served in this way, or the time to make it happen themselves. Between school, work, and the partners I already have I don’t know how I could add someone else in to the mix like this, but I want to. I want to know, to figure it out. I have a wonderful girlfriend that I get to Top, and Onyx and I engage in kink and rough sex, but it’s really not the same. Due to how our lives are now I don’t think this is somewhere I can go with either of them, even though I would like that if it could happen. I could experience the occasional surrender with each of them, the bodily sexual experience of submission, but probably not the experience of a sustained power dynamic over time.
I do need to find another person to be with, in all this spare time. This deep need in me to submit isn’t getting met and doesn’t seem like it will any time soon. I would enjoy for that person to be one that I can lay myself bare to, and one that I could grow for as well as with, but this seems like it might be more work than I have the ability for. If nothing else I need someone to submit physically to regularly in a way that I am not experiencing, and maybe service in other arenas could be part of that as well.
Now that I am allowing myself to remember the longing for surrender, submission, and service that is within me it is beginning to feel overwhelming. I miss the warm feeling I would feel in my belly when kneeling next to him with my head against his thigh and his hand in my hair. The comfort of the heavy steel pressing on the nape of my neck. The feeling of being owned. Someday I’ll have that again.am I really a service submissive?, bdsm & kink, change, collars, conflicting desires and actions, desires, difficulty, fantasy, life, love, meditating on the will of someone else, mental bdsm, O/cp, obedience, Owner, relationships, service, submission, trust, want, will