Monday, March 30, 2015

HOW TO HAVE BETTER SEX (and be happy)

(Now that I have your attention—because I’m not surprised you clicked on this link)

I have a challenge for you.

Ladies first? No. In a deliberately stereotypical tactic, I’ll give the men theirs first or risk losing their attention.

Ready, boys? Think you are “up” for it?

Your time is not the only time that matters. We will be more inclined to respect yours if you hold ours just as valuable. The sex will be better.

“I’ve always been like that,” “That’s just the way I am,” and “That’s the way I’ve always done it,” are cop-outs. All they show is that the world and everything else is evolving around you—without you. Change is constant. A willingness to grow as a person is important. Time waits for no man, right? And the sex will be better.

Our feminine wiles don’t trick you; you deceive yourselves by your willingness to be deceived, and by arrogance. The women who may try to use them in that way have only done so because they’ve been shown its effectiveness. Who is responsible for that?

Our sex and sexuality is not meant to be your target in any way.

Be in touch with all of your emotions. Be in touch with all of your feelings. Know yourself. Explore your feminine side, the softer feelings. The sex will be better.

Allow us our masculine side, without perceived threat of loss of control. Understand the idea of partnership. With women. Give a partnership with a woman the same respect you would give a partnership with a man. Don’t think you are in control of time, communication and sex. Allow us to be our fuller selves; we will not overpower you (we do not want to except in play), but our strengths will complement each other’s in an even balance of give and take. It is our differences that add the spice. And the sex will be better.

Acknowledge a wrongdoing or mistake. Validate your partner’s feelings. Make-up sex won’t happen if you don’t make up first. Angry sex can be healthy in certain situations, when the anger or disgruntledness doesn’t overpower the love and respect. A cold fish will never get this; all of your emotions need to be involved. And the sex will be better.

Bob Marley was right. “The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.” Know your feelings before you begin a relationship with her. If you are afraid of ‘being vulnerable’ stay away until you are ready. Or be honest about how you feel. Don’t be a bigger coward who is afraid to tell someone that the situation is not right for them. Believe me, the ‘unpleasantries’ you may suffer then will be considerably less than when you can’t be honest. How would you prefer to be treated? Would you rather find out a business deal fell through when it happened, or when your deal was made with someone else? Business is a form of relationship, too. And a woman, even if she is unhappy with your choice, will in the end respect it, and you. And the sex will be better.

What we do, think, say, believe and how we dress are not—and not supposed to be—any reflection of or on you. We are not here for your validation, your audience, your control, your pleasure, or your sandwiches.

Don’t just be courteous to women. This ‘deference’ we’ve been shown has been a part of keeping us ‘in our place’. Reverence has nothing to do with it; it has always been about highlighting and perpetuating our differences and our different statuses. Hold the door open for everyone, not just the ‘ladies’. Show courtesy and respect for all. The sex will be better.

You’ve benefitted from our sexual revolution, haven’t you? Your view at the beach, at parties, and out in public is definitely better, right? A woman who’s confident in her sexuality and open in a relationship means you’ll get it more often and there may be more to it than ‘just the basics’. If you "allow" that our sexual freedom has benefitted you, why not give some of these other ideas a try? They may benefit you as well. Even in bed. Don’t be frightened. We only bite when provoked. (That may affect the sex, too.)

***
Remember, my stereotyping of your gender was deliberate. If you are offended—good; you are getting a small taste of what women have dealt with for centuries, and closer to understanding that this is not a feminist uprising—this is natural evolution. The equality we—and every other group that is being or has been suppressed—seek is a matter of respect and fairness. Treat others as you would have them treat you. We are all humans in this world together as one group. We can have and celebrate our individual differences as long as we remember our basic connectedness. The universal x-ray shows us all to be the same.

Whether or not you agree with any of this, you may want to keep in mind that our ‘newer’ preferences have been directly influenced by you. Think about that.

If not,

How about you make me a sandwich? (Notice my batting eyelashes.) I will be ever so grateful.

LADIES:

Dance whenever you hear music, whenever you feel music, wherever you are.

Be ridiculous. Enjoy moments of ridiculousness. Take that smile wherever you can get it. (You may even give someone else a happy chuckle.)

If you don’t like what’s around you, change it. You change it by changing your thoughts about it. Reach for the highest thought you can think about a situation or person. When you’ve done that, reach for the next highest thought. What’s around you will not change until what’s inside of you does. Like the Bashar said, expecting your reality to change before you change is like “looking into a mirror and expecting your reflection to smile first.” That will never happen.

If you want to believe you have full control and choice over your own life, you must understand that choices are made many different ways. Some are conscious and deliberate, some are made by non-action, and some are re-action to previous experiences, good and bad. You can only be deceived as far as your willingness to be deceived goes, and that is determined by any preconceived notions you have. You can deceive yourself, too. What we believe determines what we buy into. Be aware of your beliefs.

Don’t try to control anyone. And don’t waste time and energy trying to rationalize the actions of others. Allow everyone their own perception. It’s only fair.

Validate your own feelings. Acknowledge them. Find the source of them. If the source is positive, keep it. If the main reason for a negative feeling keeps you reacting and doing the same things over and over again, let it go.

Dress for yourself. However you want. Don’t let labels get in the way. Whatever makes you feel confident is right for you. Understand your own confidence.

Appreciate your inner Beyonce. She is a prime example of celebrating feminine power. It was given to us to for us, and no one else. It is magical, and uniquely ours. Penis envy? I don’t think so. Our femininity is meant to be explored, enjoyed, and shared. But don’t ever use it as a tool. Don’t promise sex to get something in return. Popular opinion (our own included) is finally allowing us to be sexual beings—don’t set us back the years we’ve gained.

Explore the meaning of unconditional love, and use it on everyone—including yourself.

Look in the mirror and get to know and like who you see.

Change your self-talk. If you can’t find anything nice to say, ask your closest friends to speak about your thighs, belly, ass, face, whatever. And when you look into the mirror, use their words. They will be easier to believe because you heard them said by someone you care about (who’s not trying to have sex with you).

Don’t get into a relationship thinking you need to fix or heal anyone else. And don’t go into a relationship expecting to be taken care of. Walking through life thinking you are only half a person until someone else completes you invalidates God’s/the Universe’s/the Creator’s unique manifestation of YOU. You are already whole. Love yourself first, then find someone to play with, to enjoy, to reflect their special-ness.

Play with yourself. (I know what I said.) If you can have self-talk in anger and criticism, you can have it in enjoyment, too. Have a hobby. Or two. Learn to enjoy your own company. You will never be lonely that way.

Don’t change for anyone. You will resent them for liking the ‘fake you’ better, and you will be unable to keep up the fa├žade for too long without it turning on you, and when you ultimately revert back to ‘you’ the other person will accuse you of changing. That kind of work is exhausting.

Appreciate what you have, in everything. The more you are grateful for, the more you will see how much is there.

Acknowledge a wrongdoing or mistake. Validate your partner’s feelings. Make-up sex won’t happen if you don’t make up first. Angry sex can be healthy in certain situations, when the anger or disgruntledness doesn’t overpower the love and respect. A cold fish will never get this; all of your emotions need to be involved.

Keep your friends, enjoy them. They will be the best reflection of what a real relationship is like, because true friendships last longer than most marriages. Think about that. Think about why.

Don’t accept the status quo. Don’t perpetuate it or allow it to continue by sitting back and doing nothing. Remember, if the status quo had been accepted in everything, none of us would have a job, be able to vote, or get a credit card. The comments like ‘I’ve always done that’ or ‘I’ve always been that’ and ‘that’s the way it is’ are cop-outs; don’t accept them from anyone. Anyone. It shows an unwillingness to grow, to ‘go with the flow’ of the world, life and energy that changes daily.  Remember: “Obedient women were never remembered in history.”

Stop all comparisons. Of all kinds. The only thing you need to worry about being better is you being better than you were yesterday.

You—and nobody else—are responsible for your own happiness, because happiness is a choice. No one can make that choice for you—and it is a responsibility you should never put on anyone else. Sacrifice and martyrdom are not as honorable—or as beneficial to others—as one may believe. If there is no YOU, you are no good to or for anyone around you. What’s one of the first directives on an airplane during the flight attendants’ safety speeches? The parents are to put on the oxygen mask first, before the child’s. Why is that? YOU need to be present to be able to do for others. The way to do that is to BE YOU. First. When you take care of, love and respect yourself authentically, you will be unable to treat anyone else any other way.


Monday, March 23, 2015

The Irony of Self-fulfilling Prophecies, and Skiing

I’ve never skied before. I’ve never broken a bone, either. For some reason, I got it in my head that the first time I go skiing I will break my leg. I was young when I first thought that, and never forgot it. In fact, it became something I believed, and because of that I never tried it. I was convinced that the first time I ever break a bone it will be while skiing. Ergo, no skiing.

I’m a firm believer in the power of thought and the resulting idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy. What I fear most is what I will attract. What I give my most thought and attention towards is what I validate and bring to me, both what I perceive to be good and what I consider bad. I got early lessons in that.

Some of them I actually learned.

The ones that I did learn from were my ‘proof’ of the power of my thoughts and attention, and gratefully I managed to keep those teachings in mind during other situations where I was struggling to execute the concept. I may not have always fully succeeded, but I managed to not fall as far down as I could have.

I suppose I’m a bit of a pleasure addict. When I like or enjoy something, I want to totally immerse myself in it and never leave. Some people can eat a few Hershey Kisses at a time and be good. Not me; I’d eat the whole bag in one sitting. Yes, I’d take the time to savor each one, but I’d enjoy each and every one of them until they were gone.

I’d be the one at the party who needs to be asked to leave.

--Or told. (Hints don’t work with me.)

The influence of our thoughts and words include the things we say and think to ourselves. One would think that someone like me, who spouts the concept of positive thoughts, words and actions at every chance I get would understand the full scope of that?

Nope.

(Well, I do now [insert self-deprecating-but-no-longer-angry laugh here]).

You have to love those ‘A-ha!’ moments, those moments when something is finally clear. You can be struggling with something in your head for so long, and when you least expect it you finally understand or see it all at once. Those moments can bring a smile to your face and a weight off of your shoulders—or, when the light finally dawns you end up on the receiving end of a self-inflicted dope slap (“I could’ve had a V8!”?)

I guess because I never gave myself the chance to break my leg skiing, I had a belief about self-fulfilling prophecies without actual field experience. Apparently, I needed that field experience to navigate my thoughts lately—lately as in the past couple of years.

(I should have gone skiing.)

We all know the adage, “be careful what you wish for.” It is not just about wishes; it’s about preferences and fears, too. It’s about what you think and feel and say.

I have enjoyed getting older (hence the tiara every year). I began working on actively doing what I wanted to do when I grew up (obviously, I decided not to wait until then!). I started taking steps outside of my comfort zone, trying more, doing more, being more. I went too far in some areas, and had to rein myself in a little more, but I was happy with me, what I was doing, and what I was learning from it all.

--or, at least, what I was aware of.

On my 39th birthday, I realized I was looking at 40 and something about it was bothering me. I couldn't figure it out, because I knew it wasn't the age. Then, it dawned on me: it had to do with my writing. I'd known I was a writer since I was in elementary school, but I denied it for a number of years because of the self-doubt I'd allowed based on the influence of outside sources. To appease my ... soul ... I started saying that I wasn't going to seriously write until I was 40, when I had more wisdom and knowledge under my belt and had a career that supported me, because I didn't want to be a struggling writer. I set a deadline, without even realizing what I was doing. 40 bothered me because I wasn't published yet. That year I got busy and published a couple of articles online. (Thank you, Internet.)

I promised myself then that I would start being careful with my self-talk.

One recent step outside my comfort zone was getting into a relationship. (If you are reading this, you probably know how that turned out--remember what I said earlier about being the one who needs to be asked to leave?)

Self-fulfilling prophecies both suck and are as funny as hell when you are unaware until after the fact that you set yourself up. When I was younger, my greatest fear about being in a relationship was being cheated on. What happened? I was cheated on. That was a lesson I needed to learn twice before the understanding of the power of my thoughts (and subsequent choices, patterns and re-actions) set in.

Sometimes, I need to be hit on the head, hard, to learn something.

I say that a lot.

(Remember what I just said.)

I’m not against relationships at all. They can be absolutely wonderful. But I don’t need one. My future plans were never dependent on a partner. If I have one--good; if I don’t, that’s good, too. (I wrote my acceptance speech for my first Oscar [Best Screenplay] almost thirty years ago, and not one line in it acknowledges ‘my wonderfully patient and supportive husband’. I updated it a couple of times since then and never once added that in—even when I was married).

That is probably a telling statement. (We can talk about that later.)

I’m not the type of person to get lonely—I enjoy my own company too much. (Don’t worry; I have plenty of other issues.)

I remember thinking and talking about break-ups before this latest relationship. (I love hindsight.) I had actually said that I would rather be the one dumped than be the one to end it.

Hellooooooooooooooooooo?!

Yes, I’m laughing at that, and myself.

I had been the one to end my two previous relationships; it wasn’t what the other person wanted, and I was aware of that. I was honest and up front about my feelings and did not leave anyone hanging, but I hated knowing that I was hurting someone else.

Well, this time … I got my wish?

(I could’ve had a V8!)

--it gets better, too!

(Actually, I still feel that way. But my thoughts should have been that if I was thinking about the end of a relationship, that it would be mutually agreeable. Like in Nora Ephron stories.)

Remember when I said I had other issues? I believe I may have complained about my lack of ‘fucking patience’ before (once or twice).  I’d even said I was ‘unteachable’. But I learned a lot more about fuckingpatience, love, expectations, partnerships, and a few other things after this last situation.

(Remember here what I just told you to remember earlier.)

This last situation was hard on me. And surprising because it had to do with a relationship—the one thing that didn’t matter to me as much as other things. I hated even admitting that. My pride took a severe beating here because I resented that something I considered to be relatively low on the food chain took me down harder than other issues that I’d experienced that I felt should have affected me more, like family illness and death. How could this one insignificant (by comparison) thing hurt so much?

(Ready for the dope-slap?)

“But I learned a lot more about fuckingpatience, love, expectations, and a few other things after this last situation.”

Because—like I’ve said so many times before:

Sometimes I need to get hit on the head, hard, before I learn something.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!

Here I was, aware of (and grateful for) what I’d learned, and still resenting how I learned it. Why did that lesson have to be so fucking painful? Was that really necessary? I was rubbing the sore spot on my head—

Sometimes I need to get hit on the head, hard, before I learn something.

A-HA?

From now on, I will try to be a little more open to learning--or a little less resistant to certain things. I will watch my self-talk, even if I think I'm joking. And I will never, ever, proclaim myself to be unteachable about anything. It hurts my head too much.

So, what am I going to do now?

I’m making plans to go skiing next winter.













Monday, March 9, 2015

Collective Consciousness, Mob Mentality, and Personal Energy

Yesterday was a funky day; I realized that it wasn’t just for me, but for so many others. But I have something to say about it (as with everything else). Before I do, I’d like to start off with this (don’t worry; there won’t be a test later):

The idea of collective consciousness began initially as a part of studies done of transcendental meditation and the ‘unified field’ consciousness within a group, but has since been picked up as being viably scientific. Studies have not only been done on families, countries and the more common groups but also on the stock market, marketing and trends in consumer behavior. Other variations (and not as much of a stretch as one may think) are peer pressure, the (mistaken) perception and current popular references of lemmings, mass hysteria, and even in the ideas of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and ‘misery loves company’. Mob mentality is the term used to define the negative of the herd mentality, the cooperative behavior of groups.

What do all of these have in common? The fact that each group shares a particular belief or set of beliefs that arise out of a shared set of emotions. The emotional base is the energy behind all of these collectives, no matter the size.

There is energy in emotions. The energy that comes from individual people’s emotions combine to create a larger field, a collective. The stronger the emotions, the stronger the energy. Scientific data aside (and there is plenty), this can be proven simply by walking in a room where two people were having an argument. They may have immediately stopped when you walked in but you are aware that they were arguing, even if they smiled at you in greeting. Why? What’s the common phrase? The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. That is a direct reference to the energy outside of and created by the two people arguing that is palpably felt by others. Collective consciousness occurs when others around are experiencing emotional energy that matches or has a frequency close to that energy they come into contact with. If the energy matches, they can join together; if the frequencies are close enough, they can be ‘persuaded’—so to speak—to follow, and the field gets bigger. If you were already experiencing negative emotions when you walked into the room, theirs would feed yours and you would leave feeling worse. If your energy was more positive, you would be able to brush it off without a thought.

In many of the negative cases the emotional base is fear (fear of exclusion, fear of being singled out, fear of being considered different, fear of harm, etc.) and/or greed. Love and happiness are equally strong emotions. But the magnetic attraction of energies happen only when their frequencies match. For comparative purposes, the widely-used opposite ends of the scale are fear and love, with every other emotion being somewhere in between. We either make a decision based on fear (the fear of the repercussions of any other choice, what we perceive to be the lesser of two evils, fear of leaving a comfort zone, etc.) or love (something that we know will make us feel happy).

The so-called lemmings, the people who wish to keep up with the others, those who are accused of being easily swayed or influenced or ‘not having their own mind’ are still following the pull of their own energies based on their emotional states. This is not to say they are victims or easy prey, so much as they are unaware of their own base beliefs and feelings and of their true ability to control them.

Collective energy has no boundaries. It can be carried and spread across everything, time and space included. Anything that carries emotion is a conduit for energy. Even words. Sometimes, especially words. The power of words is carried in the emotions they evoke. The art of persuading people has to do with either being able to tap into their current emotional state or having the ability to raise or lower their emotional frequencies to create a desired belief. You can easily convince a person that a situation is unfair even if he or she has no active part in it if that person is already in the state of feeling unfairly treated by another, unrelated situation.

Think about it. Fighting the man. Voting for the underdog. Oppression and subjugation. Family feuds that stretch across generations. Sympathy pains. All—and more—are carried and strengthened by a knowledge and acceptance of the emotions underneath, even by secondary participants.

I often refer to music the “Universal Leveler”. It brings people together because of the emotions it evokes. Music has the ability to resonate with our emotional energies, and can both raise and lower them. We’ve all seen the many videos on YouTube set to Pharrell’s Happy. People have separate playlists for romantic dates and working out. How many times have you heard someone say, “This song gets me pumped!”? How do you feel when you hear Amazing Grace? What about We’re Not Gonna Take It? What’s it like being in a bar and hearing that song?

Another point about the art of persuasion and emotional energy: mob mentality starts with one person who has negative emotions about a situation (sadly, this could even be just the one person who is never happy who feels better when everyone around is also unhappy, or gets pleasure by taking people down). That person finds someone who feels the same way, and then another.  Persuasion comes in when the group is being built deliberately. Here is where peer pressure begins. Mass hysteria comes out of a concerted effort to fan the flames of emotion.

Notice the trends on social media. What happened with ebola? (Side note: what happened after its diversion was no longer needed?)

Two people arguing on the same side, as in complaining about a current situation together, will create a separate collective that can build just by inviting another person of the same opinions as theirs to their cause. Like the old Faberge Organics Shampoo commercial, “and they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on…”

Verbal persuasion does not rely only on select words, but the tone behind them. The tone sets the emotional base. How the first sentence is spoken can make the difference between a debate and an argument. Constructive criticism or a difference of opinion can be taken as a verbal attack based on the quality of how it is delivered.

What adds to a negative collective is often misunderstanding. This is not exclusive to those who were a part of the origin of the group; in many cases situations get inflamed by someone who joins late who is misinformed, does not have all of the facts or does not understand the whole situation, but because his or her own emotional base matches the general feeling he or she will pick up the torch and set everything around on fire. These people are specific targets of people looking to persuade a larger group, for whatever reason. Lemmings and mass hysteria, anyone?

How does one go about destroying a particular collective? Go after the weakest link; the one whose emotional base isn’t as defined as the rest. A marriage isn’t ruined by an outsider; there is really no such thing as a home wrecker. If the emotional commitment was equally strong on both sides, there is no thought of temptation. We all know the adage about the grass being greener on the other side.

A happy person cannot be persuaded by anyone; they make choices based on how they feel. One large problem is is that not everyone is happy. When you are in a negative place it can feel so very hard to get out of it. And jumping on a bandwagon of other unhappy people for a united cause is a pleasant diversion from facing and dealing with our own unhappiness or unrest. That way, we can outwardly express the emotions we feel, but on someone else’s lawn.

But emotions can be controlled, or at least modified a little at a time. Smiles are contagious, tears can be contagious. Tension and anger are also contagious, even if the causes are different. But it’s the emotions that determine participation in anything.

Why don’t night owls and morning people view 5 a.m. the same way? Why do I want to hurl a snowball at my lovely friend, Tina, who expresses joy at every snowflake that falls?

The emotions around the events are different. They will not combine.

Collectives are wonderful when they spread positivity, and destructive when not. Isn’t it better to use our energies on building rather than breaking down? Re-building can take a lot more energy and sometimes more time than we have. Wouldn’t we rather use our powers for good?

Before we react or join in any collective—we are not drawn in or persuaded to join; we are invited and we have a choice in whether or not to accept that invitation—that is in any way incendiary we need to make sure that our emotional involvement is tied to a full understanding to avoid things being destructively blown out of proportion. And sometimes, even if we have a small opinion about an event, we need to let it be fought out by the actual participants and stay out of it (unless, of course, it is your intent to control a desired outcome).

--here I will take a break, and laughingly and self-deprecatingly repeat Alex Fletcher’s line from the movie Music and Lyrics:

“I have great insight. I’d use it on myself only I don’t have any problems.”

Yes, that was self-directed snark. I am not attempting to get anyone to believe that I have everything under control, especially my emotions.

We all need to pay attention to where we put our energy, and whether or not we are concerned with construction or destruction. We need to understand how and why we feel a certain way about anything, and what emotions underline our opinions. Whether or not our scales are tipped towards fear or love.

If we have been a part of something destructive (it doesn’t matter the size of the role we played), we need to take a step back and re-examine the situation and see if we want to re-build.

If the choice is to give up, examine why you feel that way, too, with the understanding of which way your scale is tipping. Keep in mind, leaving a situation for dead will leave a sour taste in your mouth that you will savor at every thought of it. That energy will carry on (and so on, and so on, and so on…). Who knows where else you will be influenced by it.

(Uh oh. Here comes the fucking cheerleader)

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, even after destruction can come a stronger rebirth, a stronger unity. As long as we breathe there is hope, right? Just as negative energy can bring us down, positive energy can raise us up. Even if you look at that selfishly, if all you care about is how you feel, it is still in your own best interest to put your energy on the collective side of positivity, so that that energy keeps coming back to you.

We can rebuild. Always.

Today is a new day; now is a new moment.

Let’s just blame yesterday on the needless Daylight Savings.


(How do you feel about that?)