I think I’ve found you. More soon.
I just had a tantrum at IKEA. Don’t worry, I made it to the car before I started screaming and crying and then laughing at what seemed to be happening to me or through or me. It only lasted 90 seconds and then I felt silly, a little pouty, and then I forgot about it. According to my hero, most-watched TED talker, and Neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte-Taylor, 90 seconds is all it takes to let a mini-emotional storm pass through.
“When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90 second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop. Something happens in the external world and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body it takes less than 90 seconds. This means that for 90 seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away. After that, if you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking that are re-stimulating the circuitry that is resulting in you having this physiological response over and over again.” – Jill Bolte-Taylor
Imagine what the DMV and IKEA might look like if we all took 90 seconds to honor our emotional reactions to whatever nonsense we are experiencing. It would look super weird and funny, much like a loony-bin I imagine, but I wonder how it might impact our overall experience. Instead of waiting for the pressure to build and then freaking out on our loved ones or waiting for our hour of therapy, everywhere becomes a spiritual center. You don’t have to go to Bali or India, getting a traffic ticket will do.
I’ve been around babies a bit lately and watching their face is like watching a Doppler weather map where clouds, sun, rain, and snow are simultaneously flitting across the screen. They are little emotional weather systems. What is telling is how we react. We can know, for a fact, that all their needs are being met but when a baby cries it feels like a personal affront to the knight inside. “I must make it stop by any means necessary!” I have a theory that we remain a multifaceted weather system but instead of allowing the weather we build a biosphere around ourselves.
(I just googled “emotional weather system” and found this! EmoFlux is a system by artist Gil Park that visualizes the emotional flow as a weather pattern. It allows the audience to see the emotional circulation and distribution across the country and the neighborhoods that they live in.)
Soulmate, I don’t want you to think I am “crazy” or “drama”, god forbid I lose control (which I am actively seeking btw), but I have to be honest that at times there will be tantrums. There will be times when energy runs through me at every temperature and all I need are a few minutes to allow it, instead of judge it. It will probably be super helpful if you don’t judge it either but listen, you be you. I just wanted to let you know in case you needed a little permission to feel too.
How are you at receiving? How do you feel when you receive a ton of attention, money, love, and pleasure? I think the muscle is the same regardless of the medium. I ask because, until recently, I was terrible at it. Unconsciously I believed receiving was self-indulgent and selfish. Any reference to “self” elicited a feeling of disgust. I had no idea I was receiving-challenged until I was a walking experience of disconnection that judged other people for not being what I wanted. They didn’t “resonate” with me. Nothing and no one was ever good enough.
I learned the quickest way to diagnose your level of receptivity is to look at your behavior in the bedroom. For example, how are you are at asking for what you want and receiving pleasure? How vulnerable do you allow yourself to be? It was during a shoot for TIME Magazine where I was filming Nicole Daedone, Author of Slow Sex and Founder of One Taste, that I started to wake up to the barriers I had unknowingly built against connection and pleasure. She was teaching a room full of people (I first judged as pathetic) about the value of female orgasm, how it works, and the sense of connection it brings to both sexes through a practice called Orgasmic Meditation. “In this practice,” she said “a woman is stroked very, very lightly on the upper left hand quadrant of her clitoris by a partner for 15 minutes. Her only job is to focus on the point of connection between his finger and her clitoris and melt into the floor. There is no goal, nowhere to get to, just melt and let everything go. Sink deeply into that floor.” Whaaa? I was freaking out. Some 16th Century part of my brain was screaming “selfish, lazy, witch!” but in the same held breath my body was punching me from the inside panting, “pay attention!”
After the initial judgment and panic I started to reflect on my experience. Like everything else in my twenties my sex life was to be an achievement. It was often rare, disconnected, fast, confusing and with the hottest guy in the room. “Is this good? Is this it? Are you my soulmate? Too long on me, it’s your turn. How do I look? What are you feeling?” After a few seconds of receiving I had this default response of overwhelm, guilt, and obligation. I might as well have been writing, directing, and producing the movie of every hookup, because it was all happening in my head. No wonder I thought I couldn’t have an orgasm.
So, Soulmate, I suppose now is as good a time as any to confess that I practice something called Orgasmic Meditation (OM). I have one OM partner and no we haven’t ever hooked up. He stays clothed. I keep my shirt on. There is no penetration and at the end we both share a “frame”, a moment of sensation happening in our own body. This practice has not only helped me start to heal a few centuries of thick conditioning around sex, learn how to ask for what I want, recognize the power of sexuality as a force for spiritual growth, and forgive men for not knowing how a woman’s orgasm works, it has also taught me how to get out of my head and into my body* (a primary factor I’m discovering for fulfillment). In one OM session I felt like a thick layer of paint was removed from my entire upper body, leaving a new layer of skin, raw and alive. I know it sounds super weird and it kind of is at first but consider it a much better option to me getting hammered at a bar to find someone to fulfill my touch quota. Being single has sometimes meant years without being touched by someone I didn’t pay (like a massage therapist). That isn’t right.
Ps. Here is Nicole’s TEDx talk if you are curious to learn more.