Coming Soon! The Solarium
My Coign of Vantage plans to begin hosting a monthly round-up of the latest Spa news for each month. The feature will be titled The Solarium and will be archived. Begin looking for this new series on the 4th of July, 2015!
Where there’s smoke there is fire and the cannabis cloud over Colorado appears to be lingering like smog on a otherwise clear day. Cannabis proponent Apothecanna has positioned itself as a adjunct to pain science and only time will tell if they can remain straight enough to keep their wellness branding intact. But let’s talk products and leave legality aside for a brief moment.
They do offer a variety of scents that leave the 1960’s behind.
From their website and located under the tab “learn” and “apothecanna massage” is this factoid. Do note, this is the only such statement about any natural product on the website:
“Topical Cannabis, Hemp Lotion, & THC Spray
Revitalizing botanicals like arnica and capsaicin combine with topical marijuana to provide
natural herbal pain relief
Here at Apothecanna, we’re committed to providing innovative topical pain relievers that combine topical cannabis with other healing and soothing botanicals for a more natural option for topical pain relief. Unlike conventional topical pain relief cream products, our cannabis calming cream offer pain relief without unpleasant “medicine” scents, instead incorporating sense-soothing botanicals like lavender, chamomile, and frankincense. These botanicals make using our topical marijuana products more enjoyable, contributing to a sense of well being that can aid the healing process. In addition to our full line of cannabis cream and THC spray products for pain relief, which are available at over 200 Colorado medical marijuana centers, we also offer several invigorating, calming, and pain relieving cream products made with hemp and arnica cream, as well as other botanicals to soothe your skin as well as your senses.
Rejuvenate your skin and senses with topical cannabis cream and botanical skin therapies
Under the “About” tab is this little nod to legality and politics:
“Our mission at Apothecanna is to spread the wisdom of traditional plant medicine. We believe in the fundamental right of access to the healing powers of nature and promote sustainable interaction with the world around us.”
Preceeding this ‘tidbit’ is the following ‘tidbit.”
“We do not use artificial ingredients, fillers, parabens and only test on humans. We believe that natural treatments are the best treatments, and strive to create products with uncompromised purity, quality, and functionality.”
And their About page begins with this introduction:
“Apothecanna is a natural apothecary featuring cannabis extract as the primary active ingredient due to its potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Our formulations combine cannabis with other organic and wildcrafted essential oils to create highly functional topical treatments for pain and stress relief, while delivering a host of skin nurturing benefits.”
I believe that by reordering the “I statements” offered by the brand, that it may be a bit more obvious to educated consumers and those who question the politics involved, a point of comparison with the Spa and Wellness Industry and in particular the Professional Massage Community is applicable.
Given that in 99% if not most instances, the defacto and default premise that an esthetics license is required, in addition to a Bachelor’s degree to work for a Professional Spa Product Line and that LMT’s with a Bachelor’s degree are overlooked if they have no outside B2B sales experience ought to give the Spa and Esthetics industry something to mull over when considering the role of education. Yet again. I think we all suspect that “something and nothing” will collide sooner or later.
Until Next Time Campers!
Excellent bit of history.
Originally posted on peoples trust toronto:
IRISH: THE FORGOTTEN WHITE SLAVES
They came as slaves: human cargo transported on British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women, and even the youngest of children.
Whenever they rebelled or even disobeyed an order, they were punished in the harshest ways. Slave owners would hang their human property by their hands and set their hands or feet on fire as one form of punishment. Some were burned alive and had their heads placed on pikes in the marketplace as a warning to other captives.
We don’t really need to go through all of the gory details, do we? We know all too well the atrocities of the African slave trade.
But are we talking about African slavery? King James VI and Charles I also led a continued effort to enslave the Irish. Britain’s Oliver Cromwell furthered…
View original 873 more words
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork announced on March 14th, 2015 that they have partnered with ITEC, a British education company specializing in international credentialing. The goal is to facilitate ‘portability’ and ‘standardization’ for the massage profession. This partnership is similar to ISPA’s Spa Certifications that have been available to members and non members since around 2004.
ITEC describes themselves as a “an examination board” specializing in Beauty & Spa Therapy, Hairdressing, Complementary Therapies, Sports & Fitness Training and Customer Service. ITEC has hubs in London, South Africa and Asia Pacific and representation in Ireland and the United States of America. What more could a Spa therapist ask for? Let’s take a cursory look.
Student benefit highlights include:
School benefit highlights include:
What a blessing it would have been for me, had this option been available when I first graduated from massage school in 1998. I have family who immigrated to the USA, including my maternal grandmother who became a naturalized citizen. Both my maternal uncles were eligible for dual citizenship at birth. I have known professionals who hailed from Japan and studied massage therapy in London, worked with supervisors from The Netherlands and many other countries. Some former coworkers grew up overseas and started families during their travels. Many of my former coworkers have traveled the globe at various levels of the wellness industry from line positions in the Spa to Spa Management. For those of us who have lived such lives and whose families are indeed multi cultural if somewhat scattered, this is a welcome addition to massage education.
However, speaking from an American perspective in a non professional or educational context, if like me, you were blindsided by the “patriotic” and unquestionably “morally validated” emergence of the FSMTB (while working for a globally recognized, multi-national hospitality conglomerate) this may amuse you or at least make you pause for a moment of reflection.
What possible drawbacks may be found in this new educational partnership for students, educators, the massage and allied esthetics and cosmetology professions and for the spa industry?
One angle to consider is the current lay of the professional landscape. The FSMTB despite it’s monopoly on entry level credentialing that some have elevated to the status of positive law or done so in ignorance and stupidity, is only a monopoly for lack of competition at present. The addition of an international credential by the NCB is no skin off their nose or professionals backs.
For educators, the issues are different. Standardization of curriculums across international lines will necessitate the creation of new programs in participating schools. Adding ITEC curriculum to an existing education program need not require massage educators too, in the words of the NCB: “Agree to merge/map your curriculum(s) to ITEC’s International Diploma in Holistic Massage or any other specialty certifications you wish to offer.”
Why would an ITEC/NCB certification require a school to alter existing or prior proven curriculums that would or could remain independent from the ‘international’ certification program? Why not just add the NCB/ITEC international certification as a new program offering and be done with it? That is what Educational Program Directors do – design curriculums.
However, there are strategic reasons some schools may choose to partner with the NCB and ITEC specifically for the above referenced purpose.
Rhetoric exists for a reason. That said, if I were in charge of the NCB news, I would have chosen different language or crafted a completely different sentence to express this requirement. I often blog with curt language. Apparently, I am not the only one as the NCB quote above illustrates.
From the standpoint of esthetics education and cosmetology education, there should not be a great deal of difference for private institutions. There is no mention of two year community colleges and I know of no reason to presume that they would be ineligible candidates to provide this new certification. I would think they would be some of the biggest supporters and possibly better suited to have the ability to add to international standardization thru educational program development.
I will be musing on this topic for a bit. I’m sitting with the idea for the moment like it’s tea in a kettle or an old time coffee percolator. I will catch the scent in a bit and I will see where it leads me. As will we all.
Good Luck NCB and ITEC. Better late than never!
Too late. Too fucking little after you’ve already got yours too late. How many people died and had their lives butchered for your spiritual growth? The war cry of modernism is “marxism” and “homophobia”, “sexual abuse of minors” and “prostitution” and most certainly “personal relationship” lest Christians think theyhave a fucking out Buddhists don’t.
“I met my old lover on the street last night. She seemed so glad to see me, I just smiled. Then we talked about some old times and we drank ourselves some beers, still crazy after all these years.”
~ Paul Simon
I had dinner with an ex-lover last weekend. He waited until we ordered and then looked directly at me across the table and said, “I read your article, 6 Ways to Have Radically Intimate Sex, and you forgot the biggest one.”
I looked back at him trying to detect if he was serious or just playfully sparring. He was serious.
“Yes? Which one did I miss?” I said with tentative curiosity. Without hesitation, he said, “Morning Sex.” It came out of his mouth like the moderator at a spelling bee, each syllable deliberately and matter-of-factly articulated.
MOR. NING. SEX.
I felt my chest and throat tighten. My resistance tells me I am at my edge. He’s right. Morning sex is radically intimate.
“Oh right, I forgot that about you,” I replied.
I love middle-of-the-night sex—the kind when it’s pitch black and you’re half asleep, when agood naked spoon slowly becomes a fork—but when the sun streams through the windows, I usually want to sneak out undetected. As a boyfriend of mine once said upon waking, “You look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.” Even his charming London accent didn’t soften the blow. I am not a morning person by nature. Having post-coital company exacerbates this condition.
In the days after our dinner, the conversation stayed with me. I asked my ex-lover to tell me what he loves about morning sex. This is what he said:
“I love watching the woman I have been intimate with stirring in the morning light. It’s like that Leonard Cohen lyric, “I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm, your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm…”’
A time of true heartfelt exchange
And then…without the liquid intoxication
It’s like first steps again
Freshness of the skin sensations
Eye to eye acknowledgement and smiles
A playful scene
Kissing past the bad breath and leftover scents
I love the force of sobriety
If you can fuck in the morning, you can win the world
Maybe it’s like blowing off the ash of the fire burned the night before and then feeding it again.
His words moved me. This is a man who is not afraid to feel. I know well the benefits of radical intimacy; the deep connection that is made through mutual vulnerability—the healing that comes from being seen and from the witnessing of another. I want to feel about morning sex the way he does.
“What would have to happen for that to happen?” I asked myself. It’s not easy—but it’s simple.
I would embrace my imperfections. I would be naked in broad daylight. I would love my scars that grace my body after 17 surgeries. I would rock my bed head like it was the mane of the goddess mother herself.
I would see my pale cheeks and bare lips as an expression of natural beauty.
The great researcher and author, Brené Brown, says that people who live “wholeheartedly” believe that what makes them vulnerable makes them beautiful. I imagine a space where physical imperfections actually make me more beautiful—because I embrace them with courage and the kind of self-love and compassion that it takes to dance naked in the sunlight with a lover, without shame. I want to live there.
And as far as the morning breath goes, I have found that a single sip of bubbly water from a bottle—strategically place on the nightstand the night before—has a way of freshening a morning mouth.
By Zoe Korrs for Elephant Journal
I grew up with all kinds of conflicting social messages about the wrongs (and subtle rights) of violence against women. With three sisters and two mothers (married to my two fathers), I learned early there was something inherently special about women, that they were different from men not just in body parts, but in essence.
I knew they should be protected and respected.
In addition to the daily masculine aggression towards women I encountered outside my home, I also watched my alcoholic step-father terrorize my mother, me and two sisters with an explosive rage (he’s 21 years sober now, and a good man). Seeing these beautiful, brilliant women in my life routinely recoil in the face of a horrifying masculine aggression only reinforced my ideas about a woman’s singular fear.
I learned to loathe the thought of making a woman feel unsafe in my presence. I wanted to make women feel good, to like me, and I had seen how aggression made them not feel good, how it made them hate a man.
So I did my best to never express aggression with a woman. Even sexually. I shut down sexually towards women for fear that my desire would be interpreted by them as aggression. Throughout my dating life and well into relationships, until I was 100 percent certain a woman welcomed a next step with me, I would not proceed with a next step.
A woman had to practically stick her tongue down my throat before I understood that kissing her was welcome.
I often practiced what I believed was the most certain way to make a woman feel safe: I made myself invisible to her.
Whether that meant backing down, staying out of her way, leaving the room, or simply pretending I didn’t want to ravage her when I so desperately did, I made myself as non-threatening in a woman’s presence as I could position myself to be.
I taught myself how to disappear. To save her from what I thought was her primal fear of my aggression.
I was completely missing what was really happening.
In the last few years I’ve discovered something women fear even more in men than mere aggression. It’s something far more common in our everyday world. Something us men even fear in ourselves, though most aren’t even conscious we’re doing it.
A feminine woman is most afraid of her masculine man disappearing. She’s afraid of him failing to show up for her. Not stepping up. Walking out. Not staying strong and present, particularly when things get a little crazy and confusing.
A woman’s deepest desire is to be cherished. When a man leaves, even just emotionally if not physically, she is left completely un-cherished. Aggression is simply the extreme expression of a man not cherishing a woman. I checked out for years when my women got too emotional for me, especially when they were angry. I thought if they just saw things differently—if they saw things like I see them—everything would be fine. So I tried like mad to convince their minds to shift.
Which rarely worked. They weren’t waiting to have their intellects adjusted. So I would constantly give up and run, even when I stayed in the room.
But I really only ever lost. So did she. Heartbreaking how blind I was to what was actually going on.
I realize now she was simply screaming out her fear, desperate for me to step up strong and claim her heart, to let her know without a doubt that I’m here, not going anywhere, that she’s safe in my love, to simply reassure her deeply that I got her and won’t let anything bad happen to her… like only a healthy masculine man could reassure her.
Women weren’t just afraid of my aggression. They were afraid of my leaving, which ironically I was doing in countless ways often to avoid my own innate aggression which scared me, too.
Had I known this deeper truth, I likely would have married my last girlfriend. Instead, I labeled her immature and mean, and I ran in every direction. I couldn’t stand in the illusory fire of her pain—a pain largely caused by masculine abandonment in her past. I was so triggered by her pain, so caught up in my own, that I couldn’t reassure her that I loved her and would hold her safe as she learned to trust again. I lost the woman I loved most in my life because I couldn’t see what was really happening; what she was really asking of me.
She was asking me to step up and fight for her heart.
Fight what? Fight myself. Fight my desire to run. To check out. To disappear.
She was begging me to be aggressive with my own inner demons, and perhaps hers, too, in the battle for her sacred feminine heart. I lost that battle. She’s married to another man now.
Oh what fine messes of hearts I helped create over the years. I didn’t know. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I see now. I’m growing up. I’m a Man. Eager to share what I’ve learned through so much pain, with other men who don’t yet see, but who are ready to.
*** My thoughts: No. Yet again. No. No to bullshit and excuses from “whores” who see the light “too late”. The economy waits for no cheap fool and neither do terrorists – domestic or foreign. This author is a idiot who wanted a wet place to stick his dick. Obviously, he was content to call the woman “collateral damage” when he left his ex; or failing that, perhaps he was an accountant tasked with assigning value and decided she was an acceptable loss. Who cares if you’re sorry buddy? Find another cheap whore. Apparently, at one point in your life, you assigned all women to this category. If life is gray now, it’s your own art your looking at.
More kindly said, here’s an article from a differnt perspective, since I am such a hateful “bitter whore.”
By Diane Priestly
Back in the Have It All 80’s, when we eagerly attended self improvement weekend seminars in plush hotels, the hackneyed cliché ‘You’ve got to love yourself before you can love others’ was thrown around liberally by the pseudo experts on the stage and the naïve followers in the audience.
This trite statement begs to be dissected and explored in more depth. What exactly does the word ‘love’ mean in this context? Romantic love? Hardly. Or spiritual love? What’s spiritual love anyway? And what aspect of the Self are we meant to love? The fake image we manufacture or the real self that lurks within, with all its flaws? How do you love yourself if you don’t even know yourself properly? It’s like falling in love with a complete stranger, as if mindless infatuation was a good thing!
Back then I worked out that if the opposite of love is hatred (some say the opposite of love is indifference) then such an aversion is usually based on projections. We project feelings of dislike onto someone else who has the traits we don’t like in our self. So, the logic goes, if I learn to accept these aspects of myself, I will accept them in others. This line of thought was getting warm but not hot.
Instant negative feelings about others can also be based on transferences (aspects of other key people such as parents and siblings that hurt us growing up). Hating someone can also simply be that they rub us the wrong way by being offensive or we just don’t click with someone’s personality. Surely having negative feelings about some people, (while loving trusted others) is a normal inbuilt protective device so we avoid those who cause us distress. Perhaps the concept of universe love is not necessarily desirable.
Back in the 80’s when I was trying to work it all out, I reasoned that negative emotions were NOT love, and realised that when I felt emotions such as variations of anxiety, grief, neediness, shame and anger I was not feeling generous, warm, gooey love. So I decided my goal should be to remain in a constant state of blissful ‘love’ in order to express love to others. I was trying hard to crack this nut, but not quite getting it!
In my marriage, I certainly knew that my gnawing neediness was selfish; all about my craving to get my insatiable emotional needs met, rather than unselfishly, unconditionally giving love to my husband.
I was once told by a devotee of the popular Indian guru Rajneesh that the goal was to exist in a state of love, starting with loving yourself, so that you had so much love, there was an excess and it just spilt out! So I spent lots of time trying to fill my inner cup so that it would run over! But to be honest, it didn’t work, because truth is, like everyone, I am a complex mixture of emotions throughout any one day, which changes from minute to minute, in fact. Running the gauntlet of a parade of changing emotions is just being human.
Now three decades later, in my 50s, with piles life experience and study of psychology under my belt, I can confidently claim I know in my heart what the concept of loving yourself is all about.
One thing I know for sure (to borrow Oprah’s assertive phrase) is the real meaning of “loving yourself” is NOT narcissism, which is to love your own false image. The word narcissism comes from Greek mythology about the youth, Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection in a stream. He was so transfixed by his own beauty he couldn’t move away and ended up dying there, staring at his reflection.
Our western culture promotes narcissism. We are encouraged to worship the fake facades of celebrities manufactured by the media and to become obsessed with our physical appearance and carefully cultivated self-image (which sells fashion, beauty products, cosmetic surgery, gym memberships etc). The commercial focus on image exploits our human need to be admired but sadly the more effort we put into created a false image, the more we become estranged from our Real Self.
The ‘self’ we are meant to love to find healing, growth and transformation is not the superficial False Self. To fall in love with our own image is vanity and delusion and ultimately leads to a tragic end. Healing and growth comes through loving the real inner self; the self that is flawed and vulnerable; the self we mostly keep hidden from others. In theology, this is the sinful self that has done wrong, made mistakes and fallen short. In therapy, it is the wounded Inner Child who carried all the hurts of a lifetime.
We must target this ‘True Self’ in order to heal and grow. Good therapy should guide the client below the surface to deep inside the psyche to contact memories of childhood. Here we discover that all emotions and beliefs about other people and life in general, are reduced to core beliefs and core hurts that revolve about the Self.
If the adult is angry and hates their partner, in therapy, we contact the inner child who was angry and hated mum or dad (or another caregiver or sibling). But going deeper, we always discover the faulty beliefs link to the self (children are egocentric in their undeveloped thinking). If the child felt unloved, neglected or abused by a parent, they blamed them self and conclude “There’s something wrong with me”; “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve love” etc.
So, yes, the wounded inner self, with all its distorted negative opinions, requires love in order to heal and unleash the ability to love others. In therapy, the unconscious distorted beliefs about the Self are lovingly corrected. The wounded Inner Child is gently nurtured and protected.
But what is meant by ‘love’? There are different kinds of love such as romantic love (eros); family love (phileo) and spiritual love (agape).
Firstly let’s explore emotions that are NOT love. There are four core ‘negative’ (painful or unpleasant) emotions, which have various degrees of intensity.
FEAR runs the spectrum from mild apprehension, worry, nervousness and anxiety to panic and full-blow terror. Fear tends to be about the ‘future’, is concerned with safety and survival and is mostly triggered by mental activity about perceived threats. Fear starts in the head, with a thinking process.
When someone experiences chronic anxiety, especially if they perceive their partner as a threat, it is difficult to feel love. They are on edge, defensive and reactive all the time.
GRIEF, the emotion of sadness and sorrow, experienced in the heart region, is a response to loss or unmet emotional needs. Grief, like the other emotions varies in intensity from mild disappointment to a devastating experience of being heartbroken and in the deepest despair (lacking all hope and motivation to live). Grief actually feels physically painful in the heart because of the nerves and hormones activated in this region. Grief is about the PAST; yearning for what you once had or wanted but is now lost or gone.
When someone experiences the loss of a loved one or some kind of trauma, it is healthy to express the grief through crying. When grief is not openly expressed, but repressed and buried, it is not integrated and a person becomes disconnected from their Inner Pain.
Clearly it is difficult to feel love for yourself and others while stuck in chronic, repressed grief, which sometimes takes the form of depression. However the person in mourning who expresses grief through crying will emerge from the process renewed and capable of loving again. In fact, feeling one’s Inner Pain is the path to genuine love…that’s where we are going with this but first let’s consider two other emotions.
SHAME is a core emotion that sits just under the heart, in the stomach. It comes from an inbuilt survival mechanism to distinguish good and bad and what is healthy or harmful, both in the moral sense and the physical sense.
If we eat food that has gone off and could make us sick, we will feel disgust and spit it out. If we do something wrong, against our own values, we will feel guilty, a feeling of being “bad”. If we correct the behaviour the feeling should go away however some children are made to feel guilty, bad about themselves, all the time and temporary guilt morphs into an overall sense of permanent, chronic shame where the child grow up and continues to feel like a ‘bad person’. Chronic shame can lead to all kinds of shameful or harmful behaviour as a means of self-punishment for being bad and unworthy.
ANGER is another core emotion that is felt in the lower gut. It has a purpose in the human psyche to motivate action, to fight, if your survival is threatened. Anger is activated to defend against an attack or offence. It can be turned into the impulse for retaliation or revenge if the offence is in the past (and you nurse a grudge).
Anger has range of intensities too, from frustration to annoyance through degrees of disrespect and disdain and contempt (when coloured by judgements) to blind hatred and furious rage. Repressed anger is experienced as hostility and resentment. In a relationship, if one or both partners are carrying unexpressed resentment, it seeps out in all kinds of ways such as non-co-operation, covert hostility and passive aggression.
If someone lives in a state of chronic anger, it is difficult for them to feel love and softness while feeling hyped up on aggressive hormones.
All these emotions are natural to the human condition and serve a purpose. However to become a Loving Person, we have to gain mastery over these emotions and allow them to transmute into a positive, spiritual form.
Fear can bring us to Faith. Grief leads us to the highest form of Love, which is compassion. Shame is overcome through finding a sense of goodness and the energy of anger can become a motivator, the essence of Hope, beautifully expressed in the scripture, 1 Corinthians 13: Faith, Hope and Love.
Let’s revisit the Heart and explore the nature of love more fully. It is necessary to feel your own Inner Pain; all that buried grief over not being loved enough or even abused as a child plus a lifetime of accumulated hurts. The experience of grief leads to the gift of EMPATHY; the ability to feel another person’s pain. Empathy leads to REMORSE (sorrow) for how we have hurt others and a desire not to hurt others again.
Empathy brings a feeling of COMPASSION for other people’s suffering. Compassion is a feeling of deep concern, kindness, sympathy and understanding. Compassion is spiritual, agape love. This kind of love is unconditional and generous, not needy, requires no reciprocation and has no strings attached. It is God’s kind of love expressed through humans.
And compassion is the kind of healing love that is needed by the Inner Self.
When we feel ashamed of our self for our past sins and mistakes, we tend to fear three reactions from others if they ever found out our secrets: judgement and condemnation, which creates more shame; rejection and ending the relationship and anger and hatred.
The opposite of these reactions is non-judgement; to see the goodness in the person; forgiveness (to pardon without punishment); acceptance instead of rejection and compassion (kindness and gentleness) instead of anger and hatred. The child or adult consumed by shame can be healed by this loving combination.
The Inner Self needs a sense of goodness, acceptance and compassion. How can we give this gift of ultimate love to our self? Now here is the paradoxical twist in the 80s You’ve Got To Love Yourself mantra; the ability to love yourself only comes from receiving this kind of unconditional healing love for others.
Humans are social creatures and we first learnt what to feel about our self from how others treated us; our parents and other caregivers growing up. As adults in search of healing we need to experience love from others again; to have acceptance, our true worth and value and heartfelt compassion reflected in the eyes of others in order to experience ‘love’; acceptance, forgiveness, goodness, respect, compassion, kindness and understanding towards our true self.
Other People who are compassionate are the necessary step to Self Love.
Who are these loving people? It is your job to find them. And it is your job to be that loving person in the healing of others.
Let’s get into a place where we can talk about cheating in relationships.
Let’s not talk about all the cheating that other people are doing, or all the times that we’ve been cheated on.
Let’s talk about something we are less alright with: talking about our own cheating.
Because if we really sit down and are honest with ourselves, we know thateveryone cheats.
We are cheaters.
We can lie to ourselves and say, no that wasn’t really cheating because of this reason over here…
(Cue sarcastic brain-voice) Yeah, okay, us—before we start squaring our thoughts and behavior away into labels that aren’t as scary,let’s be honest with ourselves about what cheating is.
If we would change our behavior when they enter the room, then we’re managing the image they have of us, and we are managing it to keep them from knowing things.
This means that the cheating line is not drawn with sex, because we can cheat without having sex, and we can have sex without cheating. The line is not indicated by any external marker–not with blow jobs or drunk-make outs or outright flirtations. The cheating line is drawn at intention.
The cheating line is drawn when we’re hiding, and it’s not that we are hiding from our partners, it’s that we are hiding from ourselves. When cheating is manifest into a lie, that lie is not to the person we are ‘cheating on,’ that lie is the lie that tells us that it’s okay to be in a relationship where we are cheating.
We don’t need to beat ourselves up about this. There’s nothing wrong with us.
We cheat on our partners for all kinds of reasons—it has nothing to do with them. We cheat because we’re pissed off, we cheat because we’re insecure, we cheat because we’re lonely. This is driven by the subconscious part of ourselves that is trying to figure out how to have good relationships.
We have probably cheated on every single partner that we have been with. Maybe we haven’t had sex with people outside our relationships (or maybe we have), but we’ve had those gut-clenchy moments of, I can’t tell my partner about this.
Those are the moments we need to pay attention to. If we’re already having sex with other people and not talking about it, there are mountains of other things we have not been talking about with our partners. For months. Or years. Or millennia.
We need to pay attention to the moments where we have this thought: I can’t be myself around the person I’m in a relationship with.
Here is the logic of that: we are born as ourselves, we aren’t anybody else (we know this because we have skin that keeps us separate from others). This is the only constant–that from birth until death, we will always be ourselves, living inside of ourselves. Therefore, whether we realize it or not, we want our lives to feel easy for us to be ourselves.
We aren’t cheating because this is our idea of a good time. We are cheating because we are experiencing disconnection with ourselves and we don’t know a different way to feel good, so we only allow ourselves to feel good in short bursts.
We don’t like cheating.
We want to find the path of lowest resistance so that as we go through life, it feels effortless to be ourselves.
If our relationships are making it difficult for us to be ourselves, then what the fuck are we doing there?
Why are we in a relationship where we have to stay bottled in?
And here’s how cheating reinforces itself: we know when we feel bottled in (even if we aren’t saying anything about it), and all we want is to let ourselves out. Cheating is a way of letting ourselves out.
(So once we start cheating with a partner,do we ever really stop? I think the answer to this could be yes or no, but we should really sit down and have an honest conversation with ourselves about the matter.)
It’s easy to look at cheating as a big bird-flip to whomever we are cheating on.
But—if we’re cheating, then we’re in a relationship where we’re fucking cheating, and cheating feels like shit.
Cheating feels like shit even if we come home from banging our mistress (or mister) to crawl into bed with our wife (or hubby), and high-five ourselves in the mirror during clean-up. The high-five is just a cover-up, a justification to go to sleep tonight like this and wake up tomorrow and let this be reality for one more day.
So we know that this is a no-win situation for anyone. We don’t want to be cheating. We really don’t.
Because we know–somewhere inside of us—that when we start even just thinking about cheating, that’s when the cheating starts, and we haven’t quite mastered the ability to control our thoughts yet, so it’s not as if we are asking for this.
We would definitely rather have a relationship with someone where those thoughts never pop up. That would be splendid.
But sometimes the thoughts do pop up and we don’t know how to control that–because we’re not enlightened all the time—because we don’t know the secrets of the universe—because we aren’t perfect–because, because.
We’re just becoming ourselves. That’s all we’re doing.
We want to figure out how to make our lives feel good when we’re not cheating.
Even when we’re cheating, our whole goal of everything is to figure out how to not cheat and still feel good.
Because we know that cheating has to end. It’s highly unsustainable, and there’s only a short period of time that the cheating can take place before rapid shifts happen (either we talk about it and it becomes dramatic, or we cut someone out of our lives, but something dramatic happens—it’s too much pressure in such a small space). So even if cheating feels good, we know that it won’t feel good, soon. Very soon the shift is coming.
It’s like remembering we saw a slippery when wet sign a few seconds ago and then seeing someone in high heels running through the hallway trying to answer the phone—we know the jaw-to-floor collision is going to happen, and we feel powerless to make it stop.
There’s nothing wrong with it. Any of it. It’s just that when we’re cheating, it doesn’t feel good.
There is one agreement we must make with ourselves to cut the internal tie between us and cheating. We must agree with ourselves when we say: cheating doesn’t feel good, I no longer want to be cheating.
That is the agreement. We must make that agreement with ourselves, otherwise the cheating continues to happen.
That is the only resolution. It’s not changing our partner (although we may find that we want to cheat on some partners more than others. That’s okay.), or changing our friends, or not going to bars.
It’s that one simple internal agreement.
When we make that agreement, cheating begins to stop in our relationships. It stops making sense. Maybe we cycle through a few weird relationships while we’re going through this conversation with ourselves, but eventually, the cheating stops.
The cheating stops because we start talking to our partners about what we’re feeling and what we’re going through.
We start paying more attention to how our relationship feels to us so that if we are going to cheat on someone, we catch a thought of cheating early, before chaos ensues to several lives, and we bring this to conversation with our partner, which maybe brings us closer.
We start creating bonds that are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually engaging, so that our relationships feel full and stable.
We love cheating because it helps us grow.
And what a beautiful thing: that we are given things to outgrow; obstacles to overcome. And we get to be ourselves the whole way through.
Man, life is good.
Is that the same moon?
Is this the same old springtime,
The same ancient spring?
And is this not my body,
The same body you once knew?
– Ariwara no Narihira
So many reasons
Why I must question your love,
Now my sorrows fall like rain,
Fall harder, gaining fury.
Where shall I turn now
When I am in need of a friend?
Even aging stately pines
Cannot replace lost friends.
– Fujiwara Okikaze
Did I once believe
I could come to this?- reeling
In a fishing line
In exile, in a province,
And not one friend to be seen.
– Takamura no Ason
As night follows night,
I shift and turn my pillow,
My eyes open wide.
Long ago I dreamed of you.
How was I sleeping that night?
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