Check out the May Newsletter talking about missed opportunities and lessons around bullying.
Check out the May Newsletter talking about missed opportunities and lessons around bullying.
The challenges in defining our own values rather than accepting predefined values. Check out the April newsletter.
Been thinking a lot lately about the differences between unfocused anger and focused revolution and how this impacts being a leader. Check out the February newsletter.
We are afraid of sex. Everywhere I turn I see a culture that is afraid of bodily pleasure. We can’t talk about sex. We can’t ensure that children have a healthy perspective toward sex. We can’t communicate desires. We mostly ignore sex and hope that it all just goes away. The only exception is when sex is used to sell things. Then it seems to be OK. Just look at most commercials selling cars, shampoo and alcohol. Buy the right product then all your sexual issues will just go away.
Yet we seem to love violence. A recent Supreme Court decision codified it. This decision says that a state cannot restrict violent video games to those under 18. I’m not a gamer, but games have certainly changed. I remember games like Doom where the objective was essentially to shoot everything in sight but the object of the shooting was aliens and monsters. Today’s violent games feature rupturing the insides of people, dismembering and decapitation. All of which is extremely visually explicit.
So the high court says it’s OK for someone under 18 to see a woman literally torn in two by pulling her legs apart, yet this same child cannot access information about sexuality or the body. There’s something really wrong with this!
One of the dissenters of this opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer, summed up this important question clearly.
But what sense does it make to forbid selling to a 13-year-old boy a magazine with an image of a nude woman, while protecting a sale to that 13-year-old of an interactive video game in which he actively but virtually binds and gags the woman, then tortures and kills her? What are we teaching our children? It’s OK to rape, torture and kill someone else, but only if their clothes are on?
Why can’t we have open, honest, intelligent conversations about sex? Why can’t healthy sexual expression be viewed as the gift that it is rather than something so disarming? Of course everyone won’t agree on what healthy sexual expression is, but I’m sure most anything is better that teaching 13 year olds that there’s nothing wrong with extreme violence. I guess it’s just a reflection of who we are.
As for video games… I actually enjoyed the original Mario Brothers. I’d rather stomp on mushrooms.
Opportunities to Explore Bodily Pleasure
Mindful Self-Loving continues on the third Monday of each month. We gather next on Monday July 18 at Eros in San Francisco at 6:30. Generating and playing with erotic energy in a group is definitely different than doing it alone. For most guys, a supportive of erotic explorers can add to the experience, even if you’re a bit shy. Many men find that a group encourages each other to let go of preconceived notions and connect on a profound energetic level.
We meet in a private space not connected with the rest of the activity at Eros. You do not need to pay an admission fee to Eros for this workshop; however, you may optionally enjoy the facilities at Eros after the workshop by paying a separate admission fee. In the words of Douglas Adams, be sure to bring a large towel.
If one evening isn’t enough, imagine spending a week diving into Eros. I’ll be returning on the facuty ofEros Spirit Camp this July at Easton Mountain in New York. Join me and a group of gifted facilitators at Eros Spirit Camp July 25-31. Imagine taking the best of your summer camp experience as a child and combining it with a supportive environment of men helping everone practice creating the kind of erotic life we’ve always wanted. During the week, we’ll use workshops and events to explore the possibilities of interacting erotically that are respectful, safe and life affirming – ways that both help us to go within and to discover new depths of self by connecting with others.
Easton Mountain is a retreat center created by gay men in upstate New York. It’s a short 2 hour train ride from Penn Station in NYC and is also easily reached from Boston and Montreal.
A common topic that comes up is around learning how to accept ourselves just as we are. We are our own worst critic and we know exactly how to cut ourselves down. Further, many of spend a lot of time and energy trying to be someone else.
I’d like to offer an alternative. Learn how to fall in love with yourself just as you are. I’m not talking about narcissism. That’s accepting yourself without any appreciation of how our actions and behaviors land with others. Rather, I’m advocating that we have a good understanding of our self combined with an awareness of how the way in which we behave lands with others.
A great place to begin this journey is to develop a relationship with our archetype. I believe that each of us has such an archetype. For example, mine is my inner beast. I’m very much aware of this part of me and how it can sometimes be overbearing or frightening to others. I’m also aware of how this part of me is responsible for my drive, determination and fierceness.
I spent a lot of time trying to run away from my beast and be someone else. I realized that I’m not very good at being someone else. Rather, I’d like to be the best me I can be! I’m not running away from my beast any longer; at the same time, I try to listen to how this part of me is interpreted by others. The beast is both a source of my strength and a challenge. Awareness of my archetype combined with how that archetype is felt by others has been very helpful for me.
A great exercise to find your archetype is to write a fairy tale of your life. Begin it with, Once Upon a Time…
Be sure to include witches, fairies, beasts, warriors and princes! Your archetype will begin to come to life. As you begin to look at possible archetypes, try them on. See how they feel. Look at their strengths and challenges. You may begin to feel a connection with one of the archetypes. Take a look at this archetype – both the strengths and the challenges. See how your archetype interacts with others and how others feel about your archetype.
I believe that our archetypes are very much alive in all aspects of our life. Look at how your archetype impacts your work, your relationships, your sexuality, your fun and all the varied facets of life. As you begin to see the strengths of yourself, you may begin to accepts the challenges too!
The words "I am" are potent words; be careful what you hitch them to. The thing you’re claiming has a way of reaching back and claiming you.
I just returned from a wonderful week of vacation and it’s nice to be home again.
While on vacation I met a man I just couldn’t shake from my mind. We spoke a bit the first night at the hotel and didn’t talk any more while I was there. But his story really stuck with me.
This man was lamenting about getting older. He was in his mid 40’s and was very focused on his looks. He told me that he was upset because he couldn’t walk into a club and automatically ‘get’ anyone he wanted. He was afraid of getting old and becoming undesirable. I asked him about these experiences and he told me that while he liked the ability to pick up anyone he wanted, he wasn’t really satisfied with these relationships.
I invited him to take a look at these encounters. I also asked him if the men he was meeting were really interested in him as a person or were more interested in him fulfilling some generic quality – like youth. To be honest, he really didn’t know what to make of that question. It did have me wondering if he was also using his youth and looks to hide his true self from others. Of course, I’ll never know what he was thinking.
This man asked me what I find attractive in other men. I think he was expecting me to give an answer that emphasized youth and looks. I really don’t have a ‘type;’ I find many different types of men attractive. As I thought about his question, what I realized is that I find earnestness and confidence attractive. I like men who are sure of themselves and their place in the world.
This really was my truthful answer, but the man was having a hard time getting past the veneer of looks and appearance. Eventually, I had to drop the conversation and enjoy my vacation.
I’m turning 50 this year, so I’m also aware that I’ll be passing a milestone in a few months. I’m reminded of what I notice about age as I work with so many men. Yes, our culture is youth obsessed, at the same time I’m also aware that many older men bring a sense of comfort in themselves. I’ve worked with men from 18 well into their 80’s.
When I work with young men, I’m very aware of the strong outward expression of their erotic energy. I love to teach them something new about embodiment and pleasure. When I work with older men, I’m reminded of the subtle aspects of our sensuality. I enjoy showing older men that erotic fulfillment is independent from age. In fact, I’m actually a bit jealous of the erotic energy in some older clients – I can’t help but thinking that I hope I’m feeling like they are when I’m their age!
The important thing is to enjoy where you are in life!
I have a few trips planned for June and July. I’ll be in Chicago for Chicago Pride the week of June 21 through June 28. I won’t have my table with me, but would love to connect with clients in the area. Also, I’ll be a guest facilitator at Easton Mountain, outside Albany, NY, for Eros Spirit Camp from July 26 through July 30. I’m still working on my travel plans for this trip but will be in New York City ether before or after this event!
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