On Finding Belonging

If today is an indication of what I will experience regularly in my work life, then I feel as though I’ve found my heaven for the time being. I’ve certainly found my belonging.

My spirituality now permeates every aspect of my life and my spirit is thriving because of it. I started my day by reading Occupy Spirituality on the bus (the half hour of quiet time is great for study, prayer, contemplation, and other practices) and then led the staff reflection with a blessing from John O’Donohue shortly after my arrival at the office. Most of the staff showed up for my first time facilitating, which felt really special.

Then I passed out valentines I made for my team and the residence staff, with chocolate kisses. Later I was invited by the Activities Director to share a Valentine’s lunch with the residents at the assisted living facility. I passed out more valentines, which some of them really loved, helped serve up pizza, and sat down to eat and talk with some of the community members. I am ashamed to say that it was my first time openly engaging with a group of people who are disabled in some way (all of our residents have double or triple morbidity in physical disability, mental disability, and/or addiction). I’ve been stating the intention that I am committed to embodying radical inclusion in my life and the Universe has given me a work opportunity to live into that intention. I am also recognizing through reading Occupy Spirituality that it was Jesus who was my first role model in generosity, service, and reaching out to those our culture ignores and/or shuns. (I hope to write a blog post soon about how I am circling back to my original Christian faith in some ways – the faith of Jesus, not “the church.”)

After lunch I had a conversation with the Outreach Coordinator regarding the potential of using the framework of sacred activism to draw people to our volunteer program, and possibly reach out to faith communities that have a social justice practice. Toward the end of the day I took a few leftover valentine cards with messages like “We Cherish You” to lovebomb downtown on my walk to the bank to make a deposit (I make deposits twice a week because this place knows how to bring in the donations!).

My day ended with both my Executive Director and Pastoral Director telling me…again…how much they, and the entire team, appreciate me.

I am tired and I still hurt from a Fibro flare up induced by working both jobs last week. But it’s a good tired and a good hurt. I earned it doing things that make me really happy. I am not suffering. My heart is full of love and joy. My life is so good that I feel sated. I want for nothing. It’s an amazing feeling.

Joyful Connection in Sex Positive Events

I just found this draft of a post I originally wrote on April 1st, 2012 for my previous blog, when I was one of the hostesses for The Impropriety Society. Apparently I never published it and I should have because it speaks to a significant piece of why I was so motivated to co-create sex positive parties, both public and private, for five years. And it tells the stories of two super special scenes I was privileged to be a part of. It makes my heart happy to remember these moments and trust that I will have them again.

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Awhile ago I hosted a going away party for a friend, that included turning her into a chocolate sundae. I was one of several women, as well as a couple men, who played with and tasted ice cream, home made whipped cream, candy, chocolate syrup, and other goodness on a beautiful woman’s naked body lying across my dining room table. We painted her in designs. We splashed each other as we played. And the laughter was out of control.

At the Imps holiday social, I was the spontaneous bridge between two fiery scenes on either side of our double cross. On one side was my partner, Eros, doing an impact scene with a friend of ours – a scene that I had initiated because I really like playing together as a couple and was interested in being a sensual top to a woman I adore in opposition to his meanie top. As we were getting ready to begin, another scene was coming together on the other side of the cross. Since I intended to stand in the space in the middle of the cross, I wanted to get consent to be so close to the other scene – which was three gorgeous women topping another gorgeous woman (someone who has flirted with me) for her first BDSM scene of any kind. Amazingly we ended up negotiating that any of the women were free to touch one another. I spent most of the scenes standing between these two women lost in pleasure, kissing them, touching them, and soaking up the energy flowing between 7 people having a joyful and incredibly hot experience. There aren’t even words for how magical it was.

By opening my home and my heart to holding space for people express themselves authentically, I am honored to be witness to and participate in a plethora of intimate, connected, deeply pleasurable experiences.

We shouldn’t need permission to be joyful, playful, deeply intimate, and really connect with one another in profound ways through our vulnerability in shared experiences. This is why I facilitate(d) events and gatherings – both with the Imps and in my own home. I seek to create spaces where people can be free – free to be their emotional selves, their creative selves, and their sensual/sexual selves with each other. There isn’t a lot of space in our world for people to be fully integrated humans in relationship to one another. I strive to create spaces that allow the most profound freedom possible.

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I don’t know that I will continue with sex positive specific events in Portland, but I do know that I will continue creating spaces for people to be the fullness of themselves. Spaces where spontaneous, magical connections can happen between community members, as well as deep intimacy.  Re-reading this post reminds me how much bliss I experience in these spaces, both as a creator and a participant.

The Thing About Faith

The thing about faith is that it doesn’t work on our schedule. We can have what we truly desire in life, but the journey is rarely quick or easy. Trusting the Universe means trusting for as long as it takes for people and situations to align. We are co-creating after all.

I have a natural propensity for trust, in everything and everyone. Even when I’m simultaneously raging at the Universe for circumstances I am afraid I cannot bear. Ultimately I have faith in myself, because I have been able to find a way to thrive everywhere I have been tossed by this crazy life. It really doesn’t matter if there is a God or deeper meaning to this existence. It is my faith that keeps saving me and leads me deeper into the life of my dreams. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for everything I have lived that led me to here and now.

If You Knew {poetry}

by Ellen Bass

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
They’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

It’s Our Vulnerability – Not Our Body -That Defines Our Sexy

I recently joined a women’s sexuality discussion group and it’s heartbreaking to hear how much sexiness is equated exclusively with how we look. Fat, cellulite, pimples, hair, wrinkles, stretch marks, scars – these things that are completely normal for aging women – are obstacles to feeling one’s erotic power. That’s not right. It’s not ok with me. There is so much more to sexuality than that. Bodies are literally the very surface of our sex. The erotic is something that resides in our minds, hearts, and souls.

I think one of the greatest gifts one can receive from attending hometown sex positive or kink parties, even as voyeur, is the realization that sexiness has so much more to do with how openly we express ourselves than how we look. Most people want us to claim our sexiness and will respond positively. I know from experience that this is true. Sexiness comes from within and has everything to do with our willingness to be true to who we are. Based on my real world experiences, most men (and women) are not as obsessed with the perfection of bodies as we are made to believe by our culture (and the few that are don’t matter). And nobody is paying as close attention to each of our so-called flaws as we are to our own, most especially if we’re giving them something sexy to enjoy in us.

One of the aspects of the Impropriety Society parties that I loved best was our amateur performances. Regular people were brave enough to get on stage and share their sexuality with us. Some were funny. Some were musical (one of our most popular was a drum solo on three women’s asses). Some were downright sexy (the woman who was 8 months pregnant and did an incredible strip dance). Some were edgy. Most were awesome and even when they weren’t, the crowd was respectful because they admired the bravery it took to try.

What I observed at parties is that the aspect of sexiness that is most deeply responded to is the expression, not the package it comes in. A woman of any size or shape who is on a spanking bench offering her ass to her partner with zeal is damn sexy. Any woman who lets herself get lost in her erotic power on the dance floor is damn sexy. Any woman laced into a corset, because corsets have the power to lift us up energetically as well as physically, is damn sexy. When a woman is in her erotic power, very few are looking at her wrinkles or her stretch marks. It’s actually the vulnerability we find most attractive. This is the thing we have backwards in our minds. We fear being vulnerable because we think something about us is undesirable/unlovable, but it is our vulnerability that makes us most desirable and connects us most deeply to others.

I know because I experimented with being vulnerable on purpose in order to break out of my own shell. I am fairly average looking, 5’9″, 250 lbs, droopy breasts from nursing three children, and covered in stretch marks, as well as hair because I have too much testosterone in my body from PCOS and I am too sensitive to removal from the knees up. I dressed in very revealing lingerie that I felt sexy in, or sometimes went nude during scenes, and every single person I ever interacted with was positive about my body. I sometimes even had enough awareness to notice people watching my scenes, or my dancing, and recognize that I was being appreciated for what I was sharing. People always reflected the best of me back to myself. I was flirted with, kissed, cuddled, and played with by many, some I was astounded by because they were beyond beautiful to my eyes and I couldn’t believe I was desirable to them.

I know vulnerability is most attractive because when I would be with groups of people talking about what they saw at a party, it was always the people who were really open that were most popular, not the ones that were traditionally beautiful. The furries who came in full costume were constantly surrounded by people on the dance floor rather than ostracized for being weird. The 80 year old man who came in hilarious revealing costumes was appreciated for his humor rather judged for his multitudes of wrinkles. I always heard compliments, never put downs, about women’s sexy outfits no matter what size or shape they were. I witnessed very large people, super skinny people, aging people, disabled people, trans people, awkward people, and people with every possible fetish find their sexiness in community. It was very rare that someone didn’t find their place, and it was always due to some combination of insecurity and difficulty understanding appropriate boundaries. I witnessed some of those who came to us timid and awkward, some at first even considered creepy, transform into powerful erotic beings that took our breath away.

All of this is to say please know and trust that it’s your erotic power and vulnerability you need to work with rather than your body to find your sexy. This is where role models can be really helpful, especially if you can’t go to in person events for whatever reason. There are a lot of sex positive leaders on FB and the interwebs at large who are big, bold, and brave about their sexuality that could show you this power in action.

Vulnerability In Action
Vulnerability In Action