On Fasting

There is power in indulgence, in letting go of the “shoulds” and the “can’ts” to dive into your desires and indulge your pleasure. But for me, like food can, sometimes romantic love can become an over-indulgence. I believe that LOVE is infinite, but I can tend to focus too much of my finite time and energy outward. This leaves little resources for the restorative process that is so essential to help me stay a worthy partner- to both my loves and for myself. So I have begun to wonder, is it possible that it is time for a break from romance?

I’ve been thinking lately about the immense responsibility of living a genuinely creative life. I have lived most of my life within boundaries and/or pushing off of obstacles and limitations. But what if there were no obstacles? What if money, work obligations, care giving responsibilities, societal norms and the like completely disappeared? How would I choose to spend my day, if I were COMPLETELY at choice? I’m certain I would CHOOSE some of those things that some might consider a burden. Like my children. Like meaningful work.

Then I realize that if I dig down deep enough, it is actually true– I CAN live creatively and completely at choice. In spite of my story, I always have had that opportunity, and for too many years I failed to live that choice. So the responsibility of knowing that essentially I have complete freedom, is hard to grasp. What will I do with this life, where actually anything is possible? Or this day? Or this moment? With whom will I choose to share my heart and energy? What is the balance I need between productivity, compassion, pleasure, giving, and receiving? And what split is best for me between communing with existing dear ones, extending to discover the gifts of new love, and grounding myself in My Self?

There were years where I ran on an auto-pilot story of scarcity. That part was hard, and I felt constantly like a victim. Next, came an awakening, where I busted out and charged forth bravely, consequences be damned. That part was fun, but there always ARE consequences, and often those consequences included me violating my own strongest belief, that I am here to help or at least “first do no harm.” But there were also lessons.

Lessons like: I’ve learned that I love people best who are willing to let themselves be truly seen. And that when I am permitted this seeing, I develop a deep connection that is nearly impossible for me to sever. So each person I let in becomes this extra gift and burden for my soul to carry. That is a consequence I had not considered. I’ve also learned that when I invite intimacy, even if my intentions are purely physical, I do develop love feelings almost instantly and even against my will. This is because, for me, sexuality IS spirituality which IS love, in an impossible to untangle web. If I can’t decouple these, then it becomes essential that I consult all three – my heart, my soul AND my body – before welcoming in a new partner who will inescapably come to occupy space in each of these sacred spaces in me.

The importance of this is amplified when I consider the simple truth that we become like the people with whom we spend the most time. So those habits and behaviors I dislike but nonetheless forgive and accept in my partners? Those behaviors eventually become too easily the way *I* navigate in the world. This completely changes the imperative to chose life, love, and friendship partners who are more like the person I want to become.

And so, it feels important to contemplate the truth of who I am that is doing this partner selection. Who is it that I’m offering to these wonderful, worthy, lovely people? So, I started to contemplate what it would be like to stop “seeking” for a short while, to keep my romantic energy focused inward for a respite. I’ve tried that thought on for a short while, and rather than experiencing the idea of this self-imposed celibacy as scarcity or deprivation, what I experienced was an acute sense of abundance. I found that at social events, rather than scanning the room frantically to maximize my chances for social connection, I was able to sit back and appreciated the beauty of each person being just who they are. Seeing people with no agenda towards them felt –divine. When I dropped the internal chatter filter that screens out strangers because they aren’t potential mates (too old, too young, taken, too hot/out of my league, too straight), what came to me was a deep serenity and ability to see each person’s sexiness and inherent love worthiness. I felt that ANYONE could be a potential yummy partner, and again, the responsibility of making that choice properly became paramount.

And so, I shall think of this as a “fast.” Now, to determine the duration of the fast, I could go with a menstrual cycle, or a season, or a set number of days. I have a “sex, love and intimacy” workshop scheduled in 2 months, which could be an obvious end point for this experiment. But I think instead, I will just trust myself to know when this is over.

It will be when I can feel my edges more clearly both alone AND around others. It will be when I consider the availability and willingness of another person who I feel comfortable with in ALL THREE parts of my Self – heart, body and soul. Most importantly, it will come when I have a better integrated version of compassion. This past two years was an experiment in having compassion for myself, in allowing myself to feel, want, pursue my desires for what felt like the first time ever. Unfortunately, that sometimes came at the expense of those who chose to help me. I will be ready to commune again romantically when my compassion towards myself and the desire to sate my needs no longer surpasses my compassion towards my partner.

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