3-20-13 Last night Kat and I got into a conversation about how I really don't let people get me things. It's a behavior she's observed before, and it's one that has played out numerous times in my life. She asked me where it came from and I dug in deep and found this old wound from my childhood (where else, right?). I remembered being giving gifts by my step mom and dad, only to have those gifts taken away in order to punish me. For example, I remember getting a Nintendo with some games. On a routine basis the Nintendo was taken from me for anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months at a given time to punish me...and even when I did have access to it, I was told I should be playing outside and thus my time was minimized on it. When I moved from my dad's I wasn't even allowed to take it, even though it had been given to me as a gift. And that wasn't the only they took away from me on a regular basis as a way of punishing me. While this particular approach to parenting wasn't the worst thing that they did to me, it definitely left some scars and wounds, right up to including not trusting that what someone gives me is really mine.
Later on when I lived with my mom, one of the worse things she ever did was box up my books in order to force me to be more social with people. Same lesson which illustrated to me that if something was mine, my possession of it wouldn't be respected. Not a surprise then that I learned to sneak around, and that I wouldn't always be open about what I wanted, or even what I bought. I learned not to trust people. But I know it's different with Kat and as I sat with the pain of my younger self and really felt this wound that I hadn't even realized was there, I also felt this loosening up of a block. Later I had a dream which helped me recognize how my own experiences of being parented influence me on a subtle level, when it comes to my step kids. I dreamed I was driving them to school, and I drove past this yield sign and got stuck at a stop sign. I felt blocked and I realized that it represented how the parental values from my past sometimes block me from having a genuine connections with my step kids. This is why doing the internal work is so important.
4-1-13 Last week was Spring Break, which involved a trip to Bend, and other such things. But it also involved some internal work, including Kat getting rid of some magical constructs within me, left by an ex, who had less than noble designs on me. I feel different with the constructs gone I hadn't even realized that they'd been placed within me, and while they aren't responsible for my behavior (only I am), there was some influencing going on. It highlights to me just how vulnerable you can be, and just how much trust is involved when you are with someone on a romantic, sexual, and spiritual level. say that with awareness that I have sometimes been the person who has had less than noble designs. In fact, I'd never claim that I am ever just a victim. I am a very fallible person, and I've made share of mistakes and bad choices. Fortunately I've also made some good choices.
A lot of the work around movement has actually involved knowing when not to move. An example: When I'm in a conversation and there is a lot of emotional content attached to the conversation, knowing when to listen (not move) is just as important as knowing when to speak (movement). In a way non movement is a preparation for movement. It's not standing still so much as getting ready to move. It's a subtle distinction, but one I'm really paying conscious attention to. Recognizing when to not move can be quite useful in working with movement as an element.
4-2-13 Two things of note today. I found myself really wanting to buy books even though I have plenty. I recognized that this was a feeling of wanting to be distracted. And later when I was holding Kat, I felt this resistance or reaction to the idea of her giving me pleasure or making me happy and I realized that this part of me felt like it always had to put other people's pleasure in front of my own and that I alone have to be responsible for my pleasure, which ties right back in, I think, to the desire to buy the books. As I was telling Kat this, I felt part of myself crack open, and I allowed myself to feel her love and desire to please me. It was a little frightening, but also empowering.
4-8-13 Movement is a recognition of change, the application of change to your life, on a certain level. Movement isn't just a change of the scenery, but a shift in your mind, a shift of space and awareness and context. I was thinking of this today as I did my movements through the day. Movement to a client was a different perspective than movement to home or my coach, or to be with Kat. Movement creates a contextual awareness of what you are moving from and to, what you embody and what you will become.
4-12-13 I've written a bit about my move from polyamory to monogamy before, but it is a journey that has been a bit of an adjustment for me. The truth is that I never really practiced good polyamory, and I'm not sure I ever really knew what good polyamory looked like. And perhaps most importantly, I've come to realize how much that type of relationship could allow me to avoid facing certain behaviors, emotions, and issues from my past. The last year in particular has really forced me to see certain patterns that I ignored before. So I've become monogamous, and that has been a challenge as well, because in doing so I'm facing these issues head on and no longer ignoring them or providing them outlets. At the same time, I have a very supportive partner with Kat and this has given me strength to face those issues, as well as helping me learn how to really love myself instead of relying on others to fill me up.
4-16-13 One of the books Kat and I are reading right now is about Post Infidelity Stress Disorder. It's an interesting book, and what it is doing for me is helping me explore the history of infidelity in my life, both in terms of when I haven't been faithful and in terms of when it has happened to me. The book is bringing up a lot of reactions, especially as I realize that polyamory was a decision made because I didn't believe that I could be faithful to just one person, based on the fact that my father was never faithful. He was my model for sexual behavior and romantic behavior, although I doubt he ever knew that. I certainly never told him. But I recognize how much HIS infidelity has been a trauma in my life, and how it has provided an excuse for my own behavior, and justification for being polyamorous in the past (If I know I'd cheat otherwise, better to be this way). As I said above I've never been good at polyamory. I have made some bad choices, I have cheated (even in that context), and I haven't really, truly ever looked at infidelity as it has showed up in my life as much as this book is providing me a chance to.
One of the reasons I became monogamous with Kat is that I realized that I've never had good relationship boundaries in my life. She's the first person to really speak up consistently about the need for those boundaries and to call me on my behavior. But she's also realized that there are root causes for the behavior and so we're reading a lot of books on relationships and love as a way of proactively addressing the behaviors so that they don't hurt us or our relationship. And where mistakes have been made, we are taking a hard look at both of our roles in those mistakes and helping each other heal. At the beginning of my relationship with Kat, and even a few times since, I made a few mistakes that really hurt her. I was acting out behavior without really examining it. She was hurt and upset, but she also called me out on it, and helped me recognize how it was hurtful to her. That in turn really allowed me to look at my life choices and make some changes, including becoming monogamous. Kat and I had been in a closed relationship since the very beginning, and all along we've explored what love and this relationship means to us. We've actually been monogamous since April of 2012 (when we decided that it was what was best for our relationship), but I haven't written much about it because it's been an adjustment, and there's been a part of me that has felt that I failed at being poly and shouldn't discuss it...but I'm realizing that I haven't failed so much as I've recognized a need to change and grow. For me growing involves being in a relationship with some very defined boundaries, as well as recognizing how previous relationship dynamics and behaviors have caused pain as opposed to bring bliss. And I find that monogamy brings a level of stability I never had before. I feel safe. I feel wanted. I feel focused, not just on my partner, but also on my projects. Monogamy works for me, and has helped me become much more honest with myself than my previous relationship dynamic did.
Having someone who wants to be so involved in the internal work is a new development, and something I'm still adjusting too. I'm being much more open with her than I ever was with anyone else, letting her in on what I'm working on and how I'm working on it. I'm realizing in this work how much poly really didn't help me, because what it allowed me to do was act out behaviors I learned instead of really confronting how those behaviors were impacting my life and others. So am I failing polyamory by recognizing that monogamy works for me? Maybe, maybe not. My choice, afterall, is just my choice. It's not a judgment of other people and their choices. It's a recognition that what seemed to work at one time wasn't really working, and that all it was really doing was enabling destructive behaviors that have hurt myself and others. I've made a change and that change, that choice is a better one for me and my partner.
4-17-13 I was told, in a reading I received, that I'd be entering into a pluto/neptune phase, both of which demand a level of internal work that is as much about deconstructing images of the self as it is about discovering the core of the person. I think though that I've been on such a long cycle of internal work that this just icing on the cake. Doing internal work demands a level of commitment and a willingness to dissolve everything you value in order to uncover the real alchemy of your being. The cherished images fall away to reveal the dross, which is calcinated and changed by the internal work. You become forged in the essence of your being and at the same time lose what you've held onto, which is some precious sense of ego.
On another note, I've been thinking about movement and time, and how the experience of movement is really an exploration of time as well. I'd noted this in Magical Identity, but I see it as more evident in light of the work I am doing with movement as an element. Movement draws upon time as the backdrop to support the discovery of possibility and the realization of manifestation. Movement is the actualization of time, the realization of potential, and the becoming of being.
4-22-13 I've been doing some further thinking about my history with infidelity and also my history with women. The majority of relationships I was involved two elements: The women were older than me and there was always a power dynamic at place where the women held the power (or seemed to). Even in the cases where I was with someone younger than myself, there was still something of a power dynamic at work, though in one case it was a reversed dynamic where I seemed to have the power and in the other case the other person seemed to have the power. My step mom and later my mother created the initial history and impression of women. Both women held a role of power in my life and while I never felt attracted to either of them (thank heavens) I nonetheless learned fairly quickly that my role was to serve the household and by extension them, and do my best to make them happy, while hoping all the while to avoid punishment. Not a healthy dynamic, but one that was thoroughly ingrained in me, and one that I've only really begun to chip away at in the last few years, thanks in large part to being with Kat.
On top of that I remember being fascinated with several soft porn and porn movies where the women in the movies seduced the men and then proceeded to take control of whatever money/wealth/power the men had, while seducing the close friends of those men, in order to basically put the powerful men into their place which was as someone who was thoroughly humiliated. The movies fascinated me, and turned me on, not the least because there was this element of infidelity, this power gained by cheating which consequently would destroy the power of the person who was in control, bringing them to a place of humiliation, of weakness, of having no power, while the cheater had the power. I recognize in all of this the seeds of my own experience with infidelity, the motivation to cheat, and how I used it to gain a sense of power over people I felt had power over me. I found women in general to be fascinating and powerful, and one of the skills I endeavored to learn early on was how to become as good a lover as possible so that I could use my sexuality to have power over the women in my life. I figured if I was as good, if not better, than the person I was with, sexually, then that I could make that person crave me and my sexual skills. If this sounds twisted...well it is twisted. I'm not proud to write this or admit this motivation, but I don't think I've ever really been honest about the motivation to cheat or the motivation to feel empowered in a relationship. I always felt that the women in my life were as much enemy as friend. They, to my perception, held the power and not only that, but they could potentially take me for whatever I had. Indeed with a lot of my relationships there was manipulation on both sides of the relationship. I remember several of my older lovers in particular imprinting me both sexually and magically for their own gain, and to have some sense of power over me. I found it attractive, even as I found it threatening. So in turn I did the same thing, but through cheating. I recognize this now and I recognize further how polyamory was more of a front than anything else for this behavior. I chose to be polyamorous because I felt that if I was in a monogamous relationship I couldn't help but cheat, but even in polyamory, what did I do? I cheated...not all the time, but sometimes, because of these motivations I'm only now consciously recognizing.
With Kat, things are different. I think because we are reading these books together and because we are very focused on exploring our respective issues and how they contribute to our relationship, I've been able to drill down to these issues and recognize them in a way I never did before. I am able to see how infidelity has shaped my life, from my family history to my own history. I've never really had a normal relationship with anyone else because my model for relationships was based off a very unhealthy power dynamic and set of beliefs about how to feel empowered. And the result has been a lot of pain for myself and for people I've been involved with. With Kat, I have a healthier relationship, one that is becoming more healthy all the time because we are talking about these issues, recognizing the history as well as the present. She's not out to have power over me (and I am not projecting that belief on her). She wants to be with me for me...not because I'm an author or a magician or any of the other labels I could attach to myself. Not because I'm great in bed. And sex is no longer a weapon or a defense or a way to have power or manipulate. It is simply an expression of love, a choice to really open up and be present with this person I love. A little while back Kat said to me, "I release any claim I have on you, because I see now that claiming you has involved some level (in your mind) of coercion and power. If you want to be mine, I want you to give yourself to me, freely" I've never realized how much, in my mind, there was this association with coercion, but I see it today so clearly, so overtly...and I am able to give myself to my wife without being coerced. I freely give myself to her in perfect love and perfect trust because she sees me for who I am and loves me for all of what I am, without trying to get something from me. I've never given myself permission to give myself to another, not really, but all this internal work is showing me how I can, and how I can liberate myself from my own demons in the process. That is true movement. Praise Eros!
4-23-13 I've been going through my Facebook list of friends and defriending a lot of them lately. It's not anything personal...in fact is the lack of anything personal. I don't know most of the people I am "friended" to and I figure in most cases they've friended me because of my books, but I'd rather they liked the magical experiment fan page, if that's the case. So my de-friending of people has been a good exercise in boundaries because I'm only leaving people on that I know fairly well or want to stay in touch with because I knew them back in the day. I haven't been good at establishing boundaries in the way that I need to do, but I'm learning and this is one step of that recognition.