Tag Archives: fantasies

Fan Girl Lament: Will There Ever Be a Harry Potter 8?

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 5.25.25 PMIt was a normal day on my Facebook feed yesterday until I saw that an old acquaintance from high school had posted this article quoting JK Rowling saying that she was 75% done with an eighth Harry Potter novel.

Begin instant fan-girl freak out immediately.

I scrolled right past the April 1, 2013 date at the top of the story. Began clapping my hands eagerly at “more details to come during Rowling’s press conference in Scotland” and was already tweeting “PLEASE LET IT BE MARAUDERS! #HP8 #LETITBETRUE” before I got to Daniel Radcliffe’s alleged statement that he was itching to get back into the Potter world. Honestly, that’s when I should have known something was up. I have basically been cyber stalking Dan since I saw Kill Your Darlings. I’ve seen every interview he’s done over the past three months and if one thing has been clear it has been his desire to establish himself as an actor outside of the Potter universe. (However, there is so much to be explored in the wizarding world outside of Harry. Like I said, MARAUDERS. NOW. PLEASE.)

I was in the middle of leaving my mother a voicemail that I would need my Hufflepuff (and proud) scarf express mailed to Los Angeles – not to worry that it was 91 degrees last week, fandom trumps comfort in every instance – when my friend and trusted Potter expert Terri Schwartz tweeted this helpful (and soul crushing) article from MuggleNet (the internet’s most trusted HP source). Their points were so accurate. I finally noticed that date. Daniel would never be interested in reclaiming his Potter title. Why would such an obscure website have such a hot story? More importantly, why would they be so cruel to play with our emotions that way? It’s November, not April! How dare they!

Begrudgingly, I closed my make-your-own-wand tutorial and began to sulk.

The Intent theme this week has been fantasies, and to be invited back to the Wizarding World for one more adventure probably tops the list of mine. Every birthday I still naively wish for my letter for Hogwarts to arrive. You know, maybe they have a late bloomer night-college for adults campus or something. I started reading these books when I was 10 years old – I am now 24. What is it about Hogwarts that still has me (and millions of others) still captivated  a decade and a half later?

It’s more than the fact that magic and flying broomsticks are awesome. Harry Potter taught kids like me, and people the world over, that under dogs can surmount any obstacle as long as they have integrity, faith in their friends, and the belief in themselves and their own intelligence over shortcuts and darkness. Harry Potter taught us to reach for the light. For seven books and eight movies we were able to travel to a magical world where we could all be heroes. Two professors from the University of Vermont published a book earlier this year on the political impact the Harry Potter series has had on millennials. In a national survey they found that young people that grew up reading the books tend be more open to diversity; politically tolerant; less authoritarian; less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture; and more politically active. Harry Potter has fulfilled its role as the ultimate fantasy for the current generation – it provides us with an encompassing escape and returns us to the real world with a desire and motivation to be better than we already are.

“The stories we love the most will always live within us,” JK Rowling said at the premiere of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, “so whether you return by page or by screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” You may not be writing another book right now, Jo, but we’ll eagerly accept the invitation back any time.

Wordplay Wednesday: What If You Had to Really Give Your Heart Away?

Screen shot 2013-11-20 at 4.07.44 AMA few months ago a friend and I were talking about fairy tales and how they always end after the first kiss – after the initial decision to be together. You never see the work it takes to keep a relationship together. We grow up with these romantic notions embedded in our consciousness but all we ever see are two people who agree to give their hearts to each other, but we never see them actually do it, and that’s the hard part.  After that conversation I wrote the following piece about what it would look like if we had to literally follow through with the phrase “I’ll give you my heart.” 

There’s a difference between deciding to give your heart to someone and actually doing it. Deciding is relatively easy; it just sort of happens. Someone shows up and you have no control over your reaction to them, the attraction, the pull. Sometimes there are obstacles before you can actually voice the decision and some people like to wait, just to be sure. Ultimately, it’s an inside job. Your gut decides long before you ever choose to put words to it. Mentally you never really had a choice. It is the end of the fairy tale, get on your white horse together and ride off into the sunset.

For some people that’s enough – to just say the words, living on the idea that you decided to give your heart to someone, and you really would if you had to, but again, have you ever thought about what it really means? I like you so much I want to give you possession of my most vital organ. How do you even do it? Literally, how do you give your heart to someone? Would you hand them a scalpel and let them carve it out of your chest?

I’ve had a lot of people tell me that it’s easy if it’s the right person. Maybe I’ve seen too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, but if the idea of someone – even the most well-intentioned person you know – holding a knife to your chest doesn’t make you nervous then I think you’re doing something wrong. There’s a reason they leave it at “ever after.”

I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m not discouraging it any sort of way. I’m just recently realizing that it isn’t as easy as Disney made it out to be. It’s actually really hard, and confusing, and terrifying, because it doesn’t just fade to black when the finale kiss ends in real life. You have to actually get out that scalpel at some point. You can delay by asking them, “Are you sure?” a few dozen more times, but if you’re going to do this for real then it means unbuttoning and letting them see the scars of all your previous hack jobs.

So you take a deep breath. One more “Are you sure?” just in case, and proceed, slowly. Lay yourself out. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Begin. It’s a delicate procedure and there’s no harm in being cautious. It’s barely started when the scalpel grazes over the bruise left over from that night seven months ago that left you feeling mortified and so stupid. You wince and the knife stops. Suddenly you’re freaking. out. because all you can think about are all the other scars still to be uncovered. The one from that guy who said it was a friendship ring but really they were engaged and you were too obsessed with your own feelings to see he was in love with someone else. Or the one from that time you said “forever” but he couldn’t  pretend to care enough to pick you up from the train station. There are dings and scrapes from all the ones before him that hurt you, that just walked away.

Now he’s wondering if this is just too hard. Maybe there is too much damage to continue. You don’t blame him because, honestly, you can’t tell if you’re more nervous that he’s going to walk away or keep going. You were naive enough to think you could just cringe your way through it, simply grit your teeth and bear it until it was over. You miss the kissing part. That was nice, warm and comfortable. The kissing was full of promise and this is full of fear. Can’t you just go back there and put the messy stuff off? Maybe that’s best for a little while. There are no words for how terrified you are of the possibly that he’ll finish cutting you open and find nothing but scraps and broken pieces. It’s far too much to ask of anyone to try and put it all back together. No one signed up for that.

Breathe. Just remember to breathe. Calm down. Yes, you have scars. Everyone does. But that night seven months ago that made you feel so stupid? That’s why you cherish anyone saying they can open up to you so much. The guy with the rings? That’s why you’re always honest, no matter how inconvenient it can be. That time you said forever? It’s why you never make promises you can’t keep. You’ve been hurt, a hazard of being human. Wounds heal and yes, leave scars – you’re not perfect (it’s okay, no one is). The scars make you who you are and you are more than damage. Believe that. You have to – it’s the only way to make him believe it too, that it’s worth picking up again. Be brave and don’t sweat the small stuff. Take a leap of faith. Trust.

Breathe. Just remember to breathe. Save your strength, because after you find a way through all of that you still have to convince him to hand the scalpel over to you.


Do you have a favorite or original poem you would like showcased on Wordplay Wednesday? We’d love to share it! Email the poem to editor@intent.com, and we will feature it in the series. Click here to view past Wordplay Wednesdays.

Embrace Your Sexual Fantasies for More Honest Living

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 12.22.26 PMBy Beatty Cohan, MSW, LCSW 

In my 35 years as a practicing psychotherapist and sex therapist, I have treated hundreds of men and women of all ages and stages in life– both heterosexual and homosexual– whose problems have included depression, anxiety, early child sexual abuse, addictions of every kind and relationship and sexual problems. In all those years only a handful of patients have chosen to share their sexual fantasies with me.  And in daring to do so, what they were all looking for was my reassurance that it was ok to fantasize and that their fantasies were “normal.” In retrospect, this is an area that I should have explored more thoroughly with all of my patients. And indeed, this is a topic that most of us (whether we are in therapy or not) should not be afraid to explore, as we seek to have richer and more fulfilling sex lives.

Children’s natural curiosity and their openness to the world around them allows them to have creative fantasies as they attempt to understand and make sense of the world.  As we develop and mature sexually, we all begin to fantasize about what it must feel like to fall in love, be in love, experience that first kiss and have sex. We all remember our first crush and that ‘feeling’ that gave us butterflies in our stomach. As a child I too was mesmerized by movies about love and sex and devoured romance novels and magazines, which only served to further activate my already active sexual fantasy life. As an adult, I read Nancy Friday’s book My Secret Garden which became an instant classic and one of the only books available at that time that enabled women to pursue and enjoy their sexual fantasies. These days, adolescent girls and boys, especially when talking among themselves, are very open and honest about their sex lives and sexual fantasies.

I have observed that as adults begin to form more permanent love relationships, the topic of sexual fantasies wane. In fact most adults are apt to repress their sexual fantasies as ‘life’ takes over.  And we can all attest to the fact that talking about sexual fantasies is unlikely to be dinnertime conversation among adults. And yet we all have fantasies, sexual and otherwise.

In writing this piece I want to give people permission to fully explore their deepest sexual fantasies with themselves and with their partners. I also needed to acknowledge to myself that although I have always had a rich sexual fantasy life, I too rarely shared these fantasies with anyone for fear of embarrassment.  Fortunately, today I am in a relationship where I am able to not only talk about these fantasies, but to act them out as well, if I so desire.

I encourage you to take whatever steps you need to take to free yourself mentally and sexually.   Tell yourself that from this day forward you will no longer repress, suppress, deny or avoid enjoying your sexual fantasies to the fullest as long as these fantasies aren’t acted out in a way that will be hurtful to you or others.

I wish you a successful and sexually charged fantasy life.


Beatty is a nationally recognized psychotherapist, sex therapist, co-author of For Better, For Worse, Forever:  Discover the Path to Lasting Love, columnist, national speaker and national radio and television expert guest.  She currently hosts a live ASK BEATTY radio show on the Progressive Radio Network in New York City and has a private practice in New York City and Sarasota, Florida.

From Intent.com: Making Things Happen

Iphone 228

When I was in the 2nd grade I wrote a poem about the seasons that made it into a printed book.

I remember that the poem was four lines and included the word “bare”. I don’t even know how that word got into my vocabulary at the age of 6, but I do know having my poem about summer, winter, spring and fall helped seal my dreams of wooing people with words at an early age.

Flash forward a LOT of years and I live in Los Angeles doing just that in a variety of ways.

This week (and next week’s actually), my intent will be to finish my 1st feature length screenplay. This means the script for a regular-length movie you might see in a theater (fingers crossed, you’ll be seeing this one one day).

“Two weeks? Is that enough time to write an entire screenplay?!” I have no clue.
A little bit ago, I got to do a super fun interview with my friends at Faith Context about comedy writing, social media, and space ships. I talked about how much I loved Stephen King’s book “On Writing”. Don’t worry, it’s not scary so you should read it if you have any interest in being a writer or just developing good disciplines for getting pretty much anything accomplished. The trick with making pretty much anything happen is you have to do it. Simple. You want to write? You have to sit down and do it. You want to lose weight? You have to walk and stop eating cheeseburgers*. Just do it.

I also know that we have this weird tendency of giving ourselves WAY too much time to complete a task and the majority of that time is spent procrastinating. People say “I love painting” and then make a goal to paint once a month. No need to set the bar too high, right? What if you fail? But if my math is correct, this means you’re setting yourself up to do the thing you love most only 12 times a year. What else are you doing with all that time? If I decide I’m going to paint at least 3 times a week, even if I don’t hit my goal, I’m building parameters to do what I love with a lot more frequency. So, if I like to write and I don’t want to give any more wasted time to Facebook stalking former popular kids from high school, then two weeks for a screenplay seems like a good place to start.

So what are you working on? A screenplay? A cookbook? A new business?
Maybe you’re wanting to finally repair some relationships or start brand new ones?
Set goals. Two weeks. Imagine how different your life could be in two weeks.
In two weeks, I’m going to have a screenplay.

Tell us what your goals are this week on Intent.com. Tell us what you intend to do, no matter how fantastical or absurd you think it is. We’re into it. We support you. Let’s support each other.

*Please know that I’m not a medical doctor. I have no idea how much weight you, the individual, will gain or lose based exclusively on your cheeseburger intake. It was meant to be a funny, general example. Please forgive my ignorance if cheeseburgers are a staple of your healthy diet.

photo by: -Jeffrey-

From Longing to Belonging

Wisdom - Seeds of LightThe great Tibetan yogi Milarepa spent many years living in isolation in a mountain cave. As part of his spiritual practice, he began to see the contents of his mind as visible projections. His inner demons of lust, passion, and aversion would appear before him as gorgeous seductive women and terrifying wrathful monsters. In face of these temptations and horrors, rather than being overwhelmed, Milarepa would sing out, “It is wonderful you came today, you should come again tomorrow … from time to time we should converse.”

Through his years of intensive training, Milarepa learns that suffering only comes from being seduced by the demons or from trying to fight them. To discover freedom in their presence, he has to experience them directly and wakefully, as they are.

In one story, Milarepa’s cave becomes filled with demons. Facing the most persistent, domineering demon in the crowd, Milarepa makes a brilliant move—he puts his head into the demon’s mouth. In that moment of full surrender, all the demons vanish. All that remains is the brilliant light of pure awareness. As Pema Chodron puts it: “When the resistance is gone, the demons are gone.”

This story of Milarepa came to mind during a retreat I was on many years ago, when I was in full resistance to what is often called a “Vipassana Romance,” or a romantic illusion or fantasy about a person that fills the mind with desires. In my eyes, these desires were like demons consuming my spiritual life, ruining my meditation retreat.

When I finally recognized the battle I was in, it occurred to me that perhaps my Vipassana Romance was not the enemy of my meditation practice after all, but a natural experience that could serve my awakening. What would it be like to greet the demon of desire, to “converse” with it as Milarepa had?

Over the next few days, each time I realized I’d been lost in one of my flights of romantic illusion, I would note it as “erotic fantasy,” and pay close attention to the sensations in my body and the emotions that were arising. No longer avoiding my immediate experience, I would find myself filled with waves of excitement, sexual arousal, fear. Now, instead of resisting these feelings as demons, I just practiced accepting them and, with some curiosity, exploring them further.

The pressing ache in my chest opened into a deep grief—grief for all the lost moments of love, moments I’d missed because I’d been too preoccupied or busy to stop and open to them. I moved back and forth between erotic passion and this profound grieving about how separate I felt from what I really longed for. When the sensations of craving or sorrow became particularly intense, I tended to become lost again, thinking about what was missing in my life, fantasizing about ways I might fulfill my longing for love.

While I didn’t judge the fantasies as “bad,” I could see how they prevented me from being in touch with my actual experience. They kept me from tender presence—the gateway to what I most deeply longed for.

Although I became less immersed in my stories, I could see I was still holding on, trying to control the charged energies moving through me. My habitual reins—tightening my body, entertaining a running commentary on what I was doing—stopped me from letting go into the intensity and hugeness of wanting.

Late one evening, as I sat meditating alone in my room, my attention moved deeper and deeper into longing until I felt as if I might explode with it’s heart-breaking urgency. Yet at the same time I knew that was exactly what I wanted—I wanted to die into longing, into communion, into love itself. At that moment I could finally let my longing be all that it was. I even invited it—“Go ahead, please. Be as full as you are.”

I was putting my head in the mouth of the demon. I was saying “Yes,” surrendering wakefully into the wilderness of sensations, surrendering into the very embrace I was longing for. Like a child finally held close in her mother’s arms, I relaxed so fully that all boundaries of body and mind dissolved.

In an instant, I felt as if my body and mind were expanding out boundlessly in all directions—a flowing, changing stream of vibration, pulsing, tingling. Nothing separated “me” from this stream. Letting go entirely into rapture, I felt as open as the universe, wildly alive and as radiant as the sun. Nothing was solid in this dazzling celebration of life energy. I knew then that this was the fullness of loving what I love.

This love is what we all long for. When we bring Radical Acceptance to the enormity of desire, allowing it to be as it is, neither resisting it nor grasping after it, the light of our awareness dissolves the wanting self into its source. We find that we are naturally and entirely in love. Nothing is apart or excluded from this living awareness.

I realized that the “one I love” was everywhere, including within me. When we don’t fixate on a single, limited object of love, we discover that the wanting self dissolves into the awareness that is love loving itself.

The Buddha taught that by being aware of desire, we free ourselves from identifying with it. With Radical Acceptance, we begin to shed the layers of shame and aversion we have built around our “deficient, wanting self.” We see through the stories we have created—stories about a self who is a victim of desire, about a self who is fighting desire, about a self who tumbles into unhealthy desires, about a self who has to have something more, something different from what is right here, right now. Radical Acceptance dissolves the glue that binds us as a small self and frees us to live from the vibrant fullness of our being.

Longing, felt fully, carries us to belonging. The more times we traverse this path—feeling the loneliness or craving, and inhabiting its immensity, the more the longing for love becomes a gateway into love itself. Our longings don’t disappear, nor does the need for others. But by opening into the well of desire, again and again, we come to trust the boundless love that is its source.

Enjoy this short video on Desire and Deep Longing:

For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com

photo by: h.koppdelaney

Manifesting Desires and Fantasies

I am battling to fully understand the difference between my true nature desires and fantasy.
If nature wants us to have all abundance and wishes to fill each of our desires, how does the fantasy nature of a desire separate it from this state?
For me fantasy is a desire removed of all limits and boundaries, a wish that envisages no fear. So then why would this fantasy not be deserving of manifestation?
I am confused as to the limit of which needs and desires are attainable and which are not?

I would greatly appreciate your insight to help me better understand the topic.
Fantasies are usually highly idealized desires so that the anticipated fulfillment can compensate for what the ego feels it is lacking inside. Fantasy may be fearless, but it is driven by a desperate need to escape the implications of present reality. It takes you out of the moment and therefore out of the state of awareness that creates.
Most desires are just straight forward ego wishes. The natural impulse toward action that flows from our true nature will also express itself as desire, but in this case it is an easy, gentle preference that does not come from a sense of lack or selfishness. That is the easiest way to evaluate whether your desire is coming from your real self or your ego. Does it feel relaxed and loving? Is it coming from a place that already feels good about itself? Does it want this for others as well as for oneself?
These are the desires that the universe will support and therefore which will be manifested most easily.
Of course you can do a lot to manifest your ego desires through sheer will power, but it takes lots of effort and you may not feel as fulfilled when you attain it as you imagined you would. It

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