I spent the weekend at a retreat where we allowed ourselves to ask deep, beautiful (and for me, often frightening) questions about the nature of love, intimacy, self-care, sexuality and spirituality. As I “re-enter” the world where these aren’t the most common topics of conversation, I want to remind myself of these questions I’m exploring, and perhaps some of the answers I’m receiving.
What is Sexy?
People who know deep in their core that they are beautiful, and have absolutely no interest in convincing me of that, are a profound embodiment of luscious sexiness. People who have forgotten their own beauty and are hell bent on convincing me that they aren’t beautiful are the embodiment of unsexy. And the paradox – people who have caught a glimpse of their beauty and are hell bent on convincing me to also see it, are in the ugliest part of the process. I’ve been in all three states, and know that how one gets from one of these states to another is a deeply personal journey. Love helps it along the way. For many of us, sex and love are so intertwined, that we get caught in this trap of it seeming like the only way to connect to feeling sexy is to have sex, but if we aren’t having a connection to our beauty, the opportunity for that becomes extremely scarce. Isn’t life a funny teacher!
How are Security and Self-Consciousness Connected?
I used to use the word “self-conscious” to mean “insecure,” as in “I’m self-conscious about my body,” or “I’m feeling self-conscious about the poem I just performed.” I’m gaining a new relationship to this word. I’m understanding that there are moments in our lives when something is worthy of bare attention – it can be when I’m on the edge of a beautiful new discovery about my truth, or when I’m on the edge of something that is powerful, or even when there is danger of harm near by. In these moments, a sharp and intense consciousness of Self arises to offer me the invitation to become present to my wisdom and to act from that place. This Consciousness of Self guides me – to garner the courage to walk away from negative mind chatter towards something more meaningful, to engage the powerful situation with appropriate and focused respect and care, or to move away from harm. In this context, what I want is more self confidence, coming FROM the security of deep self consciousness, not to be “less self-conscious” because I’m feeling insecure. Fear is like this too, but I don’t fully understand that yet.
When to Teach?
I am so grateful for the teachers who have left breadcrumbs for me. And I’m deeply appreciating that there are breadcrumbs on every trail, each calling to me to go in useful and non-useful directions. When I choose for myself a painful path, I’m still learning. They are all teachers. My job is to feel myself drawn to the breadcrumbs that are healthy for me.
I love so much to be both the student and the teacher. I love the productivity of shared wisdom and workload. I love the way someone else’s journey can help me make a quantum leap on mine. But I struggle with knowing when to ask for help and when I’ll benefit most from the muscle growth of helping myself. I also struggle with knowing when to offer a hand forward vs. letting those I love find their own answers. The easy answer is to always ask permission before offering help, and I practice that daily. Yet, I notice in myself that I love best those relationships in which we know and love one another and have tacit permission to “cross the boarder” into one another’s hearts. When I’m a mess, I usually want my people to reach in and grab me be the shoulders, look me straight in the eyes, give me a little shake and say “get back into yourself!” Yes, I’ll get back to myself either way, but the process of going it alone often wastes needless time and effort. And I love the moment when I can offer an intuition to someone I love that helps them connect point A and B in their own journey.
So what is the toggle point of knowing when to cross the border? For me, sometimes NOT sharing that wisdom (in either direction) can feel like abandonment. And also, I have stories of feeling invaded by other folks with helper tendencies like mine. I’m feeling like the toggle for me in deciding when to cross the border has to do with intention. Is it to serve my own agenda, or to help my beloved redirect towards their own good? And when someone is coming into my heart space — same question.