Sensuality in the Suburbs:Redefining the Norm

I know I’m not supposed to talk about it but sex and sensuality are on the tip of my tongue and very often heating up my thoughts. What can I say? My whole being is alive, including my body and its desires.  I’m newly divorced and newly carefree.  I feel like a twenty-something with the wisdom of 42 years.  It’s glorious.

Sensual:The condition of being pleasing or fulfilling to the senses

I’ve always loved sensuality. Evocative, provocative.  Yes please.  I love and live for exquisite lines, colors, scents, images.  Beauty.  A beauty that goes unnoticed, I notice.  I drag my feet so I can see it.  I slow my breath so I can absorb it.  I  take it inside and blend it with me.  Let it hydrate my soul.

Subtle in the Suburbs/ Sex in the City

Sensuality is the lingerie of sex.  It’s a lace and a sun-kissed shoulder.  It’s lower backs curved and uncovered.  It’s silk on skin and breath on inner-thigh.

I sometimes feel alone in my sensuousness out here in the suburbs.  Few talk about it.  Even less take time to get lost in it.  It exists but it is not a natural priority. Do good schools kill it? Marriage? Children? To me, sensuality is an elixir to an ailing marriage, it makes life beautiful and sexy, reminds you you’re an adult with an eye for the remarkable. Yes, sensuality lives in the suburbs but it’s subtle, very subtle. Raw sexiness thrives in the vintage shops and crooked sidewalks of the city.  It flirts in the grit of diversity and dances between the sheets of loft apartments.

Fifty Shades of Grey poked a hole in the dam of purity.  A release as natural as a sigh after orgasm. True, it is more sexual than sensual but I feel less alone in the lust knowing Fifty Shades is a phenomenon in suburbs, cities and cow-towns.

Music: A Sensual Language

Music is sensuality alive. Voices from a deep god.  Lyrics from everyone’s psyche, pulling and caressing love and bitter to the surface. Making us swollen with feelings and impregnated with oneness.  Tones and notes as natural as the wind, as moving as a still morning ocean.  It’s a beat that encourages your body to move with fluidity and without inhibition. It teases out the sexual self. Insists you’re free. Music is a trip to long ago complete with lingering fragrances and forgotten smiles. It’s a language felt more than spoken.

 Sensuality in Front of a Camera

I stumble upon more and more opportunities to bathe in sensuous awareness. Recently a friend asked me to pose for some photos (fully covered but teasing nonetheless). I jumped at the chance. I highly recommend immersing yourself in allure and soft arousal.

Photo credit EmissivityImage.com

Fabrics of femininity, flow and feel.  They float on my skin and skim my curves and angles.  The camera whirs and snaps.  I laugh and squint.  Bare feet and a glass of good white wine.  Chiclet teeth against mocha lips.  Mocha blouse against pale breast. No shame, just sensuality.  No regrets just pleasure.  An afternoon of natural light and play.  Sexy talk and averted gazes.  He the photographer.  Me the bowl of fruit.

Sensually Repressed No More

Yes, I’ve always been sensual but I haven’t always been free.  Free to touch, express or be perilously open.  Most of the time the choice to play it closed was mine.  Artistic vision and passion buried itself deep within my comfort zone. Revealing a taste for deep beauty especially if it involves musk-laced bodies or creative vulnerability, is on the edge of the norm.  It will stop people in their tracks at school functions but not at intimate lunch dates. Choose your company wisely and you can be free.

The senses provide gifts every day in every moment. Pay attention. Pause to touch your clothing, smell the soft air, taste citrus and salt and hear love expressed in a gesture.

You are sensual.  You are new and renewed. You are absolutely alive NOW.

When was the last time you felt sensually satisfied? Where do you feel most sensual? Why?

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The Power of Poetry: Helping Us Heal, Feel and Transition

I taped Jorge Luis Borges’s poem, You Learnto the wall above my desk. It’s helping me through the married to not married transition. It whispers messages about love and endurance when I need them. Often my eyes drift to the poem and gently land on a line or stanza…

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul

Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers…

Like a prayer or mantra the poem works its way into my consciousness and nurtures me from the inside out.

Where We Turn in Crisis

We often discover poetry during a crisis. When we are most vulnerable.  When we are willing to let beautiful expression and resonance tap the soft spot where we bleed and heal. Poetic imagery helps us understand through sensations and feelings rather than a gathering of knowledge.  It soothes our inner world with artistic light and universal meaning.

Let us not forget that music is poetry. Song lyrics speak to us like intimate friends. Melody puts its arm around us and walks us forward. Singing shifts us little by little from victim to survivor. From being alone to being one with all.

 Poetic Ritual and Writing: Keeping Us Sharp and Satisfied

Poetic verse is not passive.  It engages us and makes us discern, ponder and investigate.  It turns our focus inward and then outward.  How is this me?  How is this everyone?  For this reason poetry writing is as valuable as Sudoku, crossword puzzles and reading in the battle to maintain mental acuity. In the article, A Mad Obsession: Poetry on the Brain by Cynthia R. Green, Dr. Milton Ehrlich is mentioned for his late-in-life passion for crafting poetry.  Ehrlich began his sincere poetry writing at the tender young age of 70, when he transitioned from working full-time as a psychologist to working part-time. Dr. Ehrlich is now 80 and has published three books of poetry. He writes about wisdom earned from experience and the conflict and comfort found while exploring our inner psychic worlds.

I am always working on a poem and seem to crank out a new poem almost every week. I think about it all the time. Some would call it a mad obsession.  ~ Dr. Milton Ehrlich

I myself spent a year reading and writing Haiku poems. I stumbled upon a beautiful little book called, Haiku Mind and was hooked.  I made it a ritual every morning to compose one of these small wonders.  I loved capturing the birth and death of a moment in a set of syllables organized in a simple 5-7-5 pattern.  Stripping everything away but the seed of truth, which showed itself with a tiny burst of light. I highly recommend the practice. Note to self: reinstitute haiku habit.

Poetry in Education

I remember learning the technical aspects of poetry in school. Iambic pentameter, rhyme scheme, 5-7-5 syllable  structure.  I memorized and recited a rather long poem in sixth grade about getting a haircut and washing your car.  I vaguely recall it being humorous. I have no recollection of how I felt when I read the poem other than I was proud of my memorization skills. I have no residual feelings of attachment to the words or message.  What a shame.  I wish I would have chosen a poem I was so drawn to that I had no choice but to learn it by heart.

In The Sun Magazine’s article, Written on the Bones: Kim Rosen on Reclaiming The Ancient Power of Poetry, poetry therapist (healer?), Kim Rosen, says memorizing a poem is more like conquering it than entering into a relationship with it. Learning by heart denotes a willingness to be moved and changed. She says no one told her in school that poems were conscious-altering substances. No one told her rhythm could free her mind, alliteration could allow her feelings to flow and rhyme could crack open her thought patterns.

Perhaps this is exactly what children need to be taught in school. Surrender your pride and allow yourself to be moved, changed and healed.  The willingness experienced will carry you through life’s crises. Openness will expose you to beauty and opportunities you will never see with a memorization-muddled mind.

I know of a boy closing in on the final days of a three-year chemo regiment for ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia ). His body and spirit are weary but he’s made it. Six weeks ago his 6th grade Language Arts class did a poetry unit. Kids were assigned a poem to read and answer questions about.  This boy read the poem, Another Mountain by Abiodun Oyewole. The final lines in the poem are, But my wings only work, after I’ve climbed a mountain. Instead of stuffing this poem in his crammed backpack and forgetting about it like most kids did, he took it home and shared it with his mom and instead of putting it in the recycle bin after that, he folded it neatly and put it the important papers file.

You Learn

I take Jorge Luis Borges’s poem, You Learn, to heart.  I grant it access to my subconscious and spirit. Every day it seeps in and guides me through this time of transition. It teaches me how to tap into vulnerability and heal the wounded spots. It teaches and I learn.

Where do you experience poetry?

In music? Within your faith? At poetry slams?

Has poetry ever helped you heal?

If you enjoyed The Power of Poetry then you may also like:

JFK Eulogy for Robert Frost – Los Angeles Times

The Journey – Mary Oliver

The Invitation – Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Blossom or Hibernate? In Love and Work, When Is It Right to Start Anew? – Space2live

Spirit of Summer – Space2live archives

Blossom or Hibernate? In Love and Work, When Is It Right To Start Anew?

Is it OK to blossom now?  A question I ask myself every day and a question I imagine the trees and flowers are asking themselves now. March in Minnesota is usually snow-covered and grey-ish.  But this year June temperatures showed up in bright green shorts and flip flops while our coat closets were still sporting black parkas and mukluks.

A walk through the woods reveals trees and plants in various stages of bloom confusion. I can relate.

I’m between my old and new life.

Stay Close to Home or Venture Out?

I’m at the mouth of the cave where I hibernated for years as a married woman with children and homemaking ambitions. A few steps outside the cave is me as a divorced woman with children and career ambitions. My old cave served its purpose and gave me shelter and protection for years. I love that cave. But it’s time to wake up and move out.

So I’m stretching and pawing the ground. Looking for signs of life to guide me in this personal spring.  Which direction are my children headed?  What has their attention?  How to move forward with their well-being in mind? I must lead them in the best direction for ultimate survival, where they can grow healthy and strong.

There’s a fine line between their growth and mine. I am mindful of their needs and wants for closeness. I am mindful of my wants and needs to venture out.  I need space to roam and gather sustenance, both financially and spiritually.  They fight, fear and benefit from independence but don’t know it. We are all in bloom confusion.

I take steps toward writing dreams but often the chill of reality and responsibility snuffs out all the growth I make. Will I be stuck in this bud stage forever?

I mistakenly thought growth was effortless. It’s effortful. Every seedling must push through the soil…and sometimes the earth is cold and hard. Some days the struggle is all-consuming. It would be so easy to lay dormant.

Unlike nature, I have choices. I can strike out and struggle in search of my calling or I can carefully exist on what I have stored up. I’ve been existing carefully for years.  I’m mysteriously drawn to the struggle.

Love

I have choices in love too.  Stay wrapped tight in my cocoon of self-love and awareness or bloom openly and generously with another.  I’m satisfied with my single way of life.  I’m not a loner but I flower in solitude.  My brightest colors often appear when I am alone. Perhaps I should spend more time preparing for my debut.

Children and the cave keep me  busy and nourished. Adding love to the mix seems ambitious. Still… the warmth of a loving gaze draws me out.  What if love finds me, like sunshine finds green leaves?  How can I not move toward it? Even if it arrives early.

What It Takes To Bloom Magnificently

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The patience of nature.  Letting things unfold naturally.  Paying attention to conditions. One moment of rain drenched heavens.  One moment of sun soaked skies. I will bloom, blossom and grow. When the time is right.  Every day.

What nutrients do you need to bloom fully?  When was the last time you woke up and moved on?  Are you immersed in self-love and/or growing with someone else?

Peak Experiences in Self-Actualization: Gifts That Transcend Your Head

Decisions, frustrations, squirrel energy and caffeinated thoughts. I’ve been in my head too much lately. Check-lists and ringing phones have left my spirit mechanical and my soul longing for poetry, beauty and prose that flows. I wish for living that transcends the business end of it. Please Universe extend some humanity, some oneness, a sprinkle of stillness and a sense of awe.

Self-Actualization and Peak Experiences: What We Live For

Abraham Maslow included peak experiences in his list of characteristics of the self-actualized individual.  Self – actualization is the tippy top level of being on Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs pyramid.*  A self-actualized person has all their basic needs for food, shelter, protection, belongingness and esteem satisfied and rises to an existence that includes the desire to self-fulfill or become everything that one is capable of becoming. Self-actualized individuals have a propensity for peak experiences; intense moments of joy, awe, wonder, oneness and ecstasy. Following such experiences the being is strengthened, renewed, inspired.

Have You Ever Had Your Breath Taken Away By…

Music: The purity of one note sung into the sun that originates in the earth rises through  bodies and rests in tears that spring from jaded eyes. Songs reminiscent of long ago scents, settings and the sideways smile of an old lover. Space between lyrics where souls wedge in and expand. Singing without thinking because you are in a good place.

Kindness: Love when there could be bitterness. A hand that reaches for yours when you are mired and distant in your own sadness. An offer of listening with no expectation of repayment. Selflessness that makes you want to be a better person.

Resonance: Stories that powerfully echo your own. To be known. Kinship based on common joy and suffering. Meeting the eyes of others and seeing yourself in them. A connection that makes you a little more brave, less alone.  Message received. I feel you. I am you.

The Humanities: Art, music, theater, philosophy, literature, history, religion. Clarity from the ether of imagination manifested into words, melodies, dialogue, prayers. Bold art that whispers to your heart. Literature that befriends and awakens. Weeping from beauty and catharsis. The human condition defined and transcended.

Empathy: A child sobs when he learns of the tormented life of another. Witnessing the belittling of another and never being the same again. An ache felt deeply for another. Raw compassion. What moves us to help.

Stillness: The hours in the morning before the house is up. God, the Universe, your inner voice or your imagination speaking through silence. The moments after you ask for help and the ones after it is received. The pause and quiet beneath the veneer of noise. Where peace and metaphors come from. A calm to be found within and without.

Nature: Retreating to the woods to feel small and infinite at the same time.  A non-judgmental sanctuary of light and silence. Hearing morning doves outside your bedroom window the day after your lover moved out. Feeling less alone. Watching with your children as a hawk circles and pierces the edgeless sky.

Thank you for allowing me to indulge in flow and awe.  To attempt to put into words the ineffable. To escape my clockwork mind.

I feel much more connected to myself and you.

Do you think introverts have more peak experiences than extroverts? What do you need to reconnect with yourself?  Tell me of a peak experience that changed you.   

*At least on the most commonly referred to versions of the pyramid.  Maslow later added a level about Self-Actualization he called Transcendence.

Spirit of Summer

  

Summer seems a time of brevity, levity and love. My heart and intellect could not stand an outpouring of researched writing this week so something different… a poem; in this case, liquid words of summer sentiment.  Enjoy the beauty and life-filled images of the season. :)

 

 Love

Past loves swarm and circle-buzz the air:

The ones you walked with in butter breezes,

Fingers and sunlight brushing shoulder blades

Two-stick popsicles

Colors melting with time

Color 

Red, pink, yellow scrunchy bunches of snapdragons sold next to

A baby-faced man playing piccolo on a sweaty street

Green baskets of beans, beets and peaches huddle nearby

Spit polished, bugs removed

Music born of the earth

Music 

Guitars warm and humming on picnic blankets

Play and sway with the wind in tall grasses

Surrender, bend, dance

Divinity singing all we cannot 

A song embraced by grace

Song

Laughter hop scotches with sprinkler spray and lands like a pebble

In the dry throats of elders

Voices quenched after a brittle winter

Shriek with outdoor freedom

Old sing and love like young

 Young

Innocent as cotton candy, brown as muffins from sun soaking

Children of the moment

  Don’t miss the next breath

Mmmmmm meditation

Time melting with living

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What are your summer images?  Where are the colors? Loves? Music?

Cannonball or pencil dive?  Make a splash or not?

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Thank you for indulging my wish to write poetically.   It felt right to go light and easy this week.  :)

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Woody and Me, Sittin’ Under a Tree

Woody Harrelson all natural.

Who knew Woody Harrelson wrote poetry?  I didn’t, until recently when I ran across his poem, Alien Creature, and this line of clarity: 

 

I feel like a run-on sentence in a punctuation crazy world.

 

Me too.

When do we get to free-write through life with our modifiers
dangling, semi-colons misplaced and footnotes forgotten? When did living become a series of dictated pauses and concise fragments? I get tired of living the short shelf-life answering to beeps, tweets and chimes.  It is very difficult to dodge interruptions, but I’m giving it a shot.  I love community, but buck being a puppet connected to stifling strings.  Fluid living rather than a hyper stimulated existence of digital leashes.  I want to hear frogs converse in the creek and windchimes sing in the breeze.  I want Mother Nature to be my English teacher handing out assignments on patience and beauty.

Why do we micromanage our lives?

Why not leave space for introspection and ease?  Julia Cameron says, Play can make a workaholic very nervousBusy-ness helps us avoid ourselves, our
relationships and our feelings.

I feel I should move from activity to activity with no rest or reflection in order to keep up with expectations.  I should arrive thirty minutes early for my child’s spring concert to get a front row seat. If I was truly devoted, I’d hustle and get there early like all the other parents playing the game.

I feel I should thrive on life’s stops and starts.  I should embrace a day filled with errands, email notifications and time management.  But I don’t.  Instead it feels like little jolts of electricity from a societal shock collar. I prefer leisure management, but alas life is broken down into fragments of time and achievement.  A chain of what’s next?  This. What’s next?  This.  This is never enough.  On to the next thing.

The trouble is when I rush around like a rat in a maze racing toward the cheese I lose myself and meaningfulness.  I’ve rushed around and found out as author Anne Lamott says, the cheese is just plain old Safeway SwissI should have enjoyed the twists and turns of the maze. 

 Stream of Consciousness Living

Writing goddess ,Brenda Ueland says,

These people who are always briskly doing something and as busy as waltzing mice, they have little, sharp, staccato ideas, such as: ‘I see where I can make an annual cut of $3.47 in my meat budget.’  But they have no slow, big ideas. 

She claims the rushing around and leaving no room for imagination is why time-pressed individuals always claim they are not creative.

We are all creative.  We just need freedom to make mistakes and invest deeply.  Think about how creative children can be with a cardboard box.  Given space their imagination soars. They don’t know yet they should be efficient and productive and perfect.

More Woody

But as for me,

I see living as loving.

And since there is no loving room,

I sit on the grass under a tree

dreaming of the way things used to be

Woody Harrelson

I will sit with Woody under a tree.  I will invite the world to join us.  We can create a space to live and love fully without rigidity.  A loving room where living happens and nature teaches and adults play and beauty is noticed and sentences are punctuated but life is fluid and flawed and humility rules over dollars and meaning runs on and on.

How could you be lyrical rather than over-punctuated?  Do you have space for living and loving?

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Related posts:

Introverts Do It Passionately and Creatively: How It’s Possible to Love Solitude and Be Popular

Moving at the Speed of Introversion: Living With a Slow Richness and Loving It

How Quiet Places Could Save the World

Live…Naturally: Less Technology, More Meaning