Soul Massage

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Considering Polyamory

All for One and One for All

Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate partner in a mutually consenting relationship. In plain speak, I have a lover, who has a lover, who may have a lover as well (hopefully) and together we are co-lovers.

In many ways, polyamory provides the best of many worlds. Imagine sharing time with your friends who enjoy hiking, fishing, outdoor adventures, and then with those who prefer time at home with a movie and glass of wine. On some nights you are out for dancing and karaoke; generally wandering about the city. Is it possible that one friend can share all those adventures or might you divide your time with those who enjoy the same passions as you?

For those with strongly diverse desires and passions, polyamory offers support, understanding,and play within a committed context. The freedom to share interests and plan activities openly with co-lovers differs from the concept of cheating, swinging, or serial monogamy.

Polyamory maintains several values, including trust, honesty, loyalty, respect, transparency, communication, non-possessiveness, boundaries and agreements. Simply put, each partners is accepted, not merely tolerated. Partners are open and receptive to the needs and desires of the other, honoring the agreements between them all. Secretive meetings and relationships are frowned upon as outside of the value system.

The structure of relationship will look different from one group to another. Some manage to maintain  equality between lovers but more than not (in my experience) one lover is primary, another secondary and the next tertiary. It seemed as long as each had a primary lover there was enough space/freedom to move amongst one another freely. When there was a single primary for co-lovers the division of time and attention became an issue.

Polyamorous relationships come with the same jealousies and insecurities as any other relationship. Generally, jealousy is viewed as an issue to be discussed and overcome, especially as this is one area that can destroy the relationship. At times this is most evident when co-lovers share the content of their activities with each other. It is important to notice how the partner’s life is enhanced and joy expanded.  Jealousy can lead to power struggles when two co-lovers collude against or in conjunction with each other, dismissing the presence or opinion of a third.

Absent lovers, through break-up, relocation, or lifestyle shift affect the dynamic of the whole. Having lived in the fashion of mutual satisfaction the void is palatable. The reorganization of priorities around time, space and attention can rock the entire balance; and  adjustment may be outside of the previous relationship commitments.

This is especially true when that turn of events points toward monogamy - that belief that we can be “All for One” and that another will be the “One for All.” In this instance,  we are looking toward a single person to fulfill the needs and desires that were once spread amongst a few. Imagine the one being settled into a quiet home life. What of those times the other dreams of dancing the night away? Who will wander the backwoods through hill and dale with the one  when the chosen partner is skittish about bugs and sticks, and the dark? What kinds of concessions are each willing to make to meet the needs and desires of the other? At what point do we dismiss our own desires for the sake of the relationship? And how do we forget what was once so easy and delightful? Will the love and commitment of one be enough?

As hard as it can be for the partner who feels like sacrifices are being made, it is equally challenging to face that it is impossible to satisfy needs that were once met by many - or at least more than one. This ignites an entirely new set of insecurities, that if not tempered immediately, become the fuel for discord as time goes on, creating an exit in the relationship.

The very structure of the polyamory allows the freedom of exploration, with an opening to welcome a new person into the relationship, sexually and/or emotionally without the fear of losing the primary relationship. Closing the exit refers to releasing and letting go of any ideas, thoughts, behaviors or actions that serve as a way out of the relationship. Rather than being a promise, it is a commitment extending months, perhaps years along the monogamous relationship. While additional relationships may be the door, memories serve as windows; thoughts and ideas as cracks and crevices.

Monogamy requires a rewiring of the circuitry of sharing life, time and experience together. Each partners must except the past, understanding its joy and challenge, while openly embracing the same in the present. This depth of honesty offers greater hope for the monogamous couple than merely dismissing what has come before.

In my experience, while knowledge of the past was clearly discussed, the lack of acknowledgement of how polyamory served our lives left us open to massive hurt as we attempted negotiation with just the two of us. We were so completely different in our interest, ideas, and understandings that even as we deeply loved and longed to live and grow together, we were constantly distracted by what was not going well. What I missed at times was not the other personality, but the shared energy and experiences.

As I grow older, I am opening to this possibility again - polyamory, not monogamy. I deeply appreciate my time and space, but imagine enjoying the shared energy and experience of another, who has another.

Let’s add this to the list of promises to myself.

✿ڿڰۣ(̆̃̃ღ Lucky Maria! ღ(̆̃̃ڿڰۣ✿

Running out the door tonight I checked the mail. Not just junk, but an exclamation, “LUCKY MARIA!” My first thought was really, a new lover? No, it was some trash to borrow $5000 and head out shopping, or some other such foolishness.

Though I have never been attracted to the random announcement of my luck - fliers, spam, bulk mail, etc - I notice now how very much we are bombarded with insistence to spend, spend, spend. Walking along I realized that even if I had won $5000, I have no need to buy anything. In fact, as you know, I am working diligently (at least in my mind) to rid my world of extraneous stuff.

Now the notion of a new lover was rather tantalizing. I’ve updated my profile on one of those personals sites and while there have been a couple of responses, not nearly as many as I expected and not at all the level of interaction I am seeking. Ah, patience, you say. Thankfully, I have plenty of that. My biggest obstacle is the “newness” aspect. I’d rather not visit my old stomping grounds - broken glass and all.

I am going to pass on the concept of luck and recognize I am responsible for making a difference in my life.  If I expect different people to show up, I will have to look in different places and not settle for the same old thing. There are nearly 125,000 people around here. Surely I can find a few who might enjoy dinner and a glass of wine.

I am traveling, so the whole world is available.Somewhere out there...

Abiding Fools

Even though the week is over in a few hours, I feel like I have been drug buck nekkid though nettles and huckleberries. I got a hundred thorns sticking in me that snag and dig whenever I move. Removing them leaves a wound for the salt, vinegar, alcohol, and lemon juice.

No, I am not feeling persecuted, just overwhelmed and burnout after listening to homophobia comments, backbiting remarks, having my decisions undercut by co-workers, explaining basic human needs to those one “expects” to have some compassion. Yes, I hear the world can be an ugly place, but I work in health care at a facility that claims every patient is a VIP and places patient care and comfort before common sense.

Didn’t I start counting down these 100 Days quite a while ago? I feel like I am going to work every single one of them. Work, not as in go to a job, but work out - work out the places that have been the challenge for the last three years and three months. Tonight as I sat revisiting the management process, tears just streamed. Breathing would neither dam or delay the flood once it leaked out. the listener continued his story hoping, I’m sure, that I would pull it together. Not! I could cry and stay or shut down my feelings and head out the door. Or worse, displace them in a situation which would lead back to one of these discussions. Better to break the cycle.

In support of the process, I came across The Six Perfections - on The Path of Liberation. I was actually looking for mala beads to gift a friend when I found these Buddhist teachings. In particular, the teaching of patience surfaces tonight.

Perfection in patience is demonstrated when the mind does not become agitated.  First, we remain calm and relaxed when we are harmed by others - physically, mentally, or emotionally - for we know that our reaction will only increase suffering. Secondly, we voluntarily accept suffering as we are responsible for the situation or circumstance we are in and these are teaching moments - growth opportunities. The third aspect of patience deals with concentration and focus on the teachings...

As much as teachings of healing and hope like to focus on turning the other cheek as a universal standard for addressing adversity. We can also recall the need to stand and meet out justice, as when the same author of turning the other cheek tore through the temple whipping the money changers or called out the major teachers of his day as liars and hypocrites.

Do I hold my tongue regardless of the injustice, neglect and outright hatefulness? How can I maintain any integrity within as I divert my gaze? If the space I seek is the space I create, then am I not responsible for ensuring that my presence makes a difference?  

I expect to be free of prejudice, classism, homophobia, and personality clashes (for the most part) while at work. I recognize that we all have our own opinions, but when they infringe on the peace of others, perhaps they are best reserved for our personal lives. My goal is to be surrounded by those who are educated and honestly accepting of those different than themselves. High standards, yes. Achievable, certainly.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Core

Yesterday I spent a session activating my core – squeezing the abdominals, lifting the muscles, wrapping the obliques.  While these are neither new terms nor techniques, personal attention to the task makes all the difference. This was my first session with the Pilates instructor.  Months ago I bought a group coupon online for three sessions in a reformer studio. It looked like a good deal and I was excited to check it out. Turns out it was better than I imagined. Specifically, each student is required to have an introduction and assessment before they are allowed to attend the group reformer classes. While I thought I knew what was expected and what I was doing, it turns out that if someone is holding a stick to my spine, there’s a bit more engagement to reach for.

Our time together included the studio tour, equipment information, instructional cues, and then the assessment. At the end, I was sweating up a storm, much like I had been though a full workout. I appreciated the time and attention the instructor gave to tweak my body alignment and encourage my effort in the movement. I thought I would go for my coupon sessions and then work on my own, but I can see the advantage of having direct support as I learn to self-adjust.

Between sessions at the studio, I will practice on my Total Gym. Yes, I bought it. Not the fancy dancy one, though it still exist in my longing, but a basis model that will allow me to follow along at home. I had been working out with the arm exercises and some legs up for core, but after my studio instruction it takes very little to feel great effort. 

In other areas, I am exploring my passion for writing. My desire to write extends back into childhood, though it was not safe to write outside of school projects. During my early college years I kept extensive personal journals and the poetic sagas of a young woman’s heartbreak. I’ve attended several writing workshops and classes and even as I recognize this shift in work priorities, I am drawn to return to the passion of my core. 

I used to imagine I would sit at my desk, tall glass of whiskey and ice, wearing a white lace slip, drunk and writing – alone in the house. Turns out I don’t  make a bit of sense when I drink and write. Pages of rambling without a thread to pull, not a shred to connect one thought to another. It’s a dream I let be.

Ten weeks to go. Two months until I give notice. It seems my list of things to do is growing so that I know I must find a way to live this life I imagine. There are books and blogs and articles to write, photographs to take and post, videos to make, skirts to sew, rooms to paint, bread to bake, crocheting, dancing, playing, gardening, traveling, singing, leaping and shouting for joy! Oh, and teaching – my heart yearns to teach. 

Even though I thought I was working from my core, given a bit of personal attention, I could feel so much more depth, both in that session and as I have continued this walk through life. 

I am alive at my core.
I live and move from my core.
I am awake and aware at the core of my being.

Blessed be.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Live as if every moment counts

Live as if every moment counts.
Sing as if joy flows from your heart.
Dance as if everyone is watching - entranced.
Love knowing that wounds heal.
Work as a choice. You really don’t need the money.

Money can’t buy love, happiness, or health. And while money can buy food, you can’t eat it – money, that is. And, you can get food other ways.

Last night I took a few chances with the “I will not always be with you” proposition. In general, I feel as if what I do at work is dismissed by the licensed staff. I serve as support staff, helping with all manner of computer entry and clarification of the medical order process. My goal, in any job, is to teach the personnel to manage for themselves. For those who prefer to have gofers there is great resistance. The reality is that some tasks they can to for themselves with greater efficiency than I can do for them. In this most recent teaching the nurse stated that she would probably forget and need me to teach her again in two months. “No, this is your learning and your time. I will not be here in two months.”

There. I said it. I’ve been hinting at it, sometimes daily. There are still eleven weeks, but I am putting some ownership to the process, feeling what comes up next. There were other moments when I share what my dream is, how I want to show up. Few understand, as some staff, licensed and not, work six twelve hour days in a roll. “They need the money.” When we see someone out of their scheduled routine, they will proclaim the joy (or attachment) to overtime.

As I left the building, I stopped to buy a sherbet treat for DA and I. I had given it up for both the cost (though minimal until you have one daily) and the calories (because I eat the WHOLE thing). The cashier asked the customer before me why she was in the building this morning. She replied, “Overtime. I need the money. Who doesn’t?” I raised my hand, “Not me.”

I recognize that we barter for housing, utilities, and food with money. My point is that all that money will not serve us if we are too tired, exhausted, sick, worn out, or busy to truly enjoy our lives. Or if what we do to earn that overtime leaves us feeling generally disagreeable. It is not for me to say what brings another joy, merely to light a beacon for those who hold the hope of living authentically and being free.

Live the days of your life.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New and Good

One skill I learned for moving out of distress is to recount a “new and good” for the day. Yesterday, it occurred to me that I couldn’t find one. But could that be, that there was nothing new or good in my life that day? The particular part of the practice requires that one think continually until that which is new and good surfaces. The reality is that something new happens every day and all the time. We tend to keep our focus elsewhere and so miss out. When required to recall the situations, circumstances or events, we are amazed at the revelations.

In the last three days, I reconnected with a past love and shared a wonderful conversation over the phone. The memory I cherish most is sharing morning coffee on the deck and then the morning meditation.  Toward the end of our time we shared our healing mantras with each other, congratulated one another on the shifts and growths in our lives and promised to speak again soon.

After that call, I spoke with another friend and made arrangements to spend next Sunday morning together. She shared the joy of her new love and I listened, offering support and understanding. It is an exciting time when she travels my directions and I am blessed to have her in my home.

Finally, my Z will be home in October, my Shuli will be here in November for Thanksgiving, and perhaps I will see her when I travel west. I believe the relationships we build and share are the most important treasures we have. I am thankful for the re-membering of my loved ones in my heart/ mind.

While we were traveling north to visit Amish country, I was blessed to share in the bounty of those who live on and tend the land. Besides being a beautiful day for the journey, it was perfect for pictures and viewing fabulous gardens. Obviously, it is my personal (gardening) skill that is at issue and not the weather. Their gardens and farms flourished in the face of what was. No more excuses. 

The weather has been remarkable cool these last few days. That has made working inside and out considerably more comfortable. I focused on cleaning the upstairs space and preparing it t be shared again. There are still lots of repairs to be made, but much was accomplished. 

Laying in the silence, I found that I had opened to some new ideas around relationship, love, and connection. I noticed a softening of my heart in a place I had not recognized was closed. I also realized that I have yet to vision an ideal relationship and seemed content with whatever had come along. Really?  Really. Free of judgment, I accepted my responsibility as the cause of the events in my life – some more.

Today’s new and good begins at work (at the end of my shift). “They” have decided to give raises. The last time (three years ago) I received a phone call to ask certain people to stay after their shift to get their raise letters. I was not included and when I asked specifically, there was no response. This year I just went about my business, noticing the event but not invested in the process or seeking inclusion. As I walked toward the time clock, I was called into the office and given my letter. I offered my thanks and continued on. I am grateful for the increase in my salary. It supports my goal of eliminating debt and saving for living my life, my way. It’s a nice enough letter to offer as a recommendation, if needed. As I rode down the elevator I recommitted to turning in my resignation, and even considered adjusting the notice date to an earlier moon; then I decided not.

I am home, awake with my DA. She is sniffly, snotty, clogged, and needs a bit of extra attention. Working nights has been a blessing for us as a family. I am thankful to be available to share time, space and energy so that DA is cared for and her mom can maintain her work schedule. My family is important to me and I have designed my life to make them a priority. While this is not new, every day, it is good.

News and goods are different from counting your blessings, though both are valuable tools to bring us back to reality. News and goods can be blessings. As we focus on each days blessings, we avoid falling into a rote pattern of calling the same blessings daily. As a child, I heard the sisters in the church stand and say, “Giving honor to God and His Holy Son, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for my life, health and strength. I’m thankful that God let me live to see another day. …” Each testimony began the same, rattled off as a mantra.  I, in no way, deny the truth of the statements, but rather challenge that if we hope to find a more genuine sense of gratitude, we will have to come to the present moment and look at what God has done for us today. (More on mantras and affirmations later.)

Each sunrise brightens a new day. Each moon welcomes new dreams. 

What’s new and good in your life today?

Yours on the journey,


Saturday, August 13, 2011

In the morning

I’ve been awake since four a.m... No clue as to why. I stayed up late, well until nine the night before, meaning I had been awake twenty-six hours. One would think that sleep would have a vested interest in my time.  At that early hour, my focus is on getting back to sleep, to rest, perchance to dream. But, wait, there was something weird about my dreams that I couldn’t recall and was not anxious to return to - and this without the valerian. So, I was left to think, and dream, and plan – to open to my new life. 

Aahhh! That was a second of angst! Angst! Then it was gone. They come – nudgings of fear – then, they pass. I have little attention for freaking out and really, what’s the big concern? What’s the worst that could happen? My idea of the worst is that I will go back to work full-time at a job that meets my needs but fails my passion. Been there. Done that. Survived. Thrived. Moved on.  

Since sleep had journeyed on, I picked up One Door Away Form Heaven by Dean Koontz. He is one of my favorite storytellers as he manages to find a glimmer of hope and redemption is the most horrid situations and circumstances. He is clearly as quotable as any motivational speaker and I hear, in his words, both the challenge to live my life authentically and the support to shift, be resilient, live boldly, and move on. They say if you want to write, read. This is one to the four books that claim my attention these days.

As I move along this path I will begin a few new blogs - one for my yoga practice and teaching; another for living below one’s means – happily; and one on travel. I am resistant to adverts on this blog; however, I am excited to see if I can generate an income writing the others. I have read dozens of blogs in these areas. I hope to offer something new and different. If you have any ideas, please share. For now, I will fill in the parts I find missing in my search. I have plenty of time to comb the internet for information. Even the blogs I thought would be relevant to my situation and life have come up short. Mostly, they were started and then fizzled.  I’d like to pick up those pieces and carry them forth. I am thankful for all those maintaining a presence on the web in their respective areas.

The dishes are washed. I have enjoyed my morning coffee during our time together. I hear the washing machine stop, so I must hang the laundry on the line. The morning is cool and quiet. Imagine being in the woods, waking to cricket’s song, watching the first rays of this day, and breathing Now.  That’s my life and I love it. 

As I stand on the deck, I am even more grateful for this morning. I am thankful to have awoken early to greet the day, complete so many tasks and get ready to the adventure to come. My grand-daughter will arrive in half an hour. There’s still time to mop, for when she is here there is more joy in the morning.

Later we will travel to Amish country. I’ll take pictures. 

You, enjoy the day! It’s here, and then it’s gone. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

90 days - Three Months - 12 weeks

“Change isn’t easy, Micky. Changing the way you live means changing how you think. Changing how you think means changing what you believe about life. That’s hard, sweetie. When we make our own misery, we sometimes cling to it even when we want so bad to change, because the misery is something we know. The misery is comfortable.”

That passage comes from a recent Dean Koontz novel I am reading. Amazing how the Universe is always speaking to us. A song here, poem there. Maybe a billboard with an announcement, quote or picture. If we are open to direction and willing to shift our perspective, we will find the support we need to live our lives filled with joy, passion and love.

Today is ninety days and counting. There are moments I am so excited and others I feel pounded by criticism. I have made this decision before – twice, and each time I was met with intense, overwhelming massive fear from those around me. Not that is was any of their business. They were neither feeding, financing nor f*cking me. Just meddling and worrying for the sake of it.  It’s the letting go of those memories that will serve me best today.

I have reworked my finances, some more. Today there are a few expenses that may be considered luxuries that I intend to maintain as long as I can. 

Netflix: I will switch to streaming only which will cost less than $10 a month.

Cable/Internet: the cost of separating is absorbed in the additional charge for not having cable. I may rethink this later, but for now it cost $55.

Android phone: I am thankful to have unlimited data, text and plenty of minutes for $70. While I could switch to a less expensive plan, this is my only phone and serves as my music player, Kindle, and mobile internet connection. I love it!

Downloading music: just for a few more months I plan to keep my plan. It cost $12 a month and I can easily suspend it if necessary. I have several streaming options, but for today, it stays.

Living stress-free means living free of debt. I am committed to limit the use of credit to petro and it means paying at the pump and NO temptation inside the store. As I was preparing to install a new faucet, I found that the repair was simple and free, so returned the new faucet to the store and the refund applied to my credit card.

For the last two weeks I have spend only cash for my groceries and made do with what is in the house. Yesterday I baked muffins for work. I needed to use up some goods that I bought, but do not eat myself. As I clear out my pantry I will be able to plan meals and shopping more effectively. I also get to be creative with what there is.

I am reworking the 4T Program (Tithing your Time, Talent and Treasure for Prosperity and The Fullness of Life).  I have found this process of consciousness changing to be powerful and supportive in the past and return to it as I shift again. Even though the lessons are familiar, it is helpful to be reminded of the process and find tools to overcome obstacles, especially fear.

Money isn’t everything. We know that. Well, most of us know. This is bigger that income and budgets. These are the opportunities to redefine who we are – who I am. I have been daughter, sister, lover, mother, massage therapist, teacher, clerk, social worker, telephone operator, yogi, teacher some more, and some more. Those were not just my jobs, but sometimes, how I saw myself and presented myself to the world. As I rework the “I AM” of me, I release the roles, titles, and positions I have filled and open to all possibility. What I need most is the space to dream.  
“Re-examine all you have been told – dismiss what insults your soul” (Walt Whitman)
We must choose the re-examination before we can identify what must change.

May we be happier, healthier, and far more interesting.