Tag Archives: sexuality

Get involved: Your Holiday Mom

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I went to high school in North Carolina. Being located at the heart of the United States Bible Belt, my home state isn’t known for it’s hospitality towards the LGBTQ community. However, my last two years of high school I went to a public residential magnet school which became sort of a liberal bubble set apart from the conservative influence of our outside community. Our head of residential life actually made a promise that he’d lose his job before he ever made a student come out of the closet to their family, so besides being a place where nerds could actually live at school, it was a safe place for those teens who felt persecuted or unsafe identifying their sexuality in their home schools. Thus, we had a much more vibrant LGBTQ teen community at our school, with alliance clubs and leadership positions created specifically to create healthy dialogue for students questioning or coming to terms with their sexualities.

It created a unique experience that most southern kids don’t get to have. Of course, growing up in a “Will & Grace” era I did horrifying things like try to collect gay friends like Pokemon cards – because to my 16 year old mind having gay or lesbian friends was a novelty and I hadn’t fully figured out that people are people, no matter who they like to sleep next to at night. I am so thankful for the experience and the open mindedness it provided me going into adulthood and that I now have many great friends that just happen to be gay.

However, we still live in a world where that kind of attitude isn’t adopted by everyone. And the other day when I was scrolling through my own blog dashboard I was reminded that there are thousands of kids out there who don’t have a home or school to go to that encourages, and embraces, them to be who they are. Each year we hear of teens who feel so outcasted and lonely because they’re LGBTQ that they self-harm or worse – take their lives. The pressure and depression over this can get even worse around the holiday time when these young people don’t feel safe or welcome in their own homes.

Then I discovered “Your Holiday Mom” – an outreach effort by moms and supportive LGBTQ allies from the internet who are trying to give those teens something to make them feel warm this holiday season. The virtual support group collects letters from moms and allies alike from the internet with messages of love, acceptance and hope and publishes them for anyone struggling this holiday season around family members or friends who don’t support them. The letters each remind the reader that they are loved and they have the place in more progressive hearts, so they’ll know someone is thinking about them and caring about them during the season.

I love this idea because it’s a small thing that can mean the world to someone in trouble. Sometimes charity or giving isn’t always about dollar bills, but opening our hearts to help others. Last year the campaign posted over 40,000 letters. This is the second year and they hope to get even more. Will you help? Here are the submission guidelines. Tell a stranger that you love them this holiday season and you could save someone’s life.

HELP: How Do We Stop Sexualizing Children for Halloween

A recent Causes petition exhorting Target to stop carrying sexy Halloween costumes for young girls recently landed in my in-box.

“From sexy witches to naughty leopards and “slutty crayons,” Halloween costumes that encourage young girls to sexualize themselves are everywhere. News flash: little girls aren’t sexy – do we really want society to look at our daughters this way?“

Absolutely not!

I’d almost added my electronic name to the petition when it suddenly hit me. Wait a minute. You have a choice as a mom and a choice as a consumer. If it offends you, don’t buy the product.

Easy for me to say—I don’t have the terrific task of explaining to a kid in various stages of public whining, pouting and storm just why a particularly slinky, slit-to-there witches outfit isn’t for her.

“It’s not appropriate.” Was there ever a more tired response guaranteed to trigger more “why not?” whining than that? And how, in God’s name, can anybody adequately explain inappropriate sexual behavior and what it might trigger to an eight-year-old anyway? In a store? Running late for gymnastics class?

And how did society get us in such a terrible place that we have to have this kind of conversation in the first place? Is it as bad as I think it is? Or is it a generational thing? I remember my mother saying things like, “You’re wearing that over my dead body.” But I was at least 16 at the time.

Times have indeed changed if eight is the new 16.And not in a good way.

Sexualization of women and little girls has reached epidemic proportions. And then there’s Miley Cyrus in a class by herself where she’s apparently always wanted to be. No wonder the petition-starting mom wants to cut the conversation off at the source! But darn-it, are the stores really the source? Is Target really the target?

I don’t think there’s a conspiracy driving the sale of revealing clothes—although it’s a great gimmick for the garment industry selling clothes with less and less actual cloth in them for ever higher prices. And I don’t think there’s a conscious desire to sexualize children. Corporations are just following the buying trend. And the trend of ever-more-exposed, younger female flesh is visible in almost any magazine, billboard, video game, advertisement, movie or TV show.

Maybe it’s a response to global warming?

Nah. It’s a time-honored tradition, and, as any salesman knows, you don’t mess with a good thing. You just keep ramping up the show. Yes, sex sells. Why child sex sells I cannot fathom or want to fathom. But here’s what’s puzzling. Over 85 percent of consumer sales, no matter what the item (okay, maybe not automatic rifles), are made by women.

In an average year, women control over $20 trillion in consumer and business spending worldwide. Hello? Do we have a clue how much power lies in our hands?

If we don’t like how something is presented or over-packaged in plastic—we can kill it. If we don’t like how our food is grown, sprayed, polluted with toxic chemicals and GMO’d into something our bodies can’t even recognize as food—we can kill it. If we don’t like how our bodies are portrayed or how our little girl’s bodies are being exploited—we can kill it.

WE’RE NOT BUYING IT. I guarantee when we don’t, markets will change.

Yes, I can hear the screams of millions of frantic-to-be-popular little girls about how “everybody else is doing it, wearing it, and piercing it.” I can hear the howls of young men when their sexually degrading, physically abusive to women video games are wrenched from their clenched fists and thrown in the trash. I can hear the sighs of boyfriends and husbands as certain magazines hit the dustbins and the TV remote CLICKS off a particularly gruesome show or movie showing yet one more violent rape, stabbing and disemboweling of yet one more terrified, victimized woman.

Too bad, so sad.

Will it be easy? Hell no. Is it the “right” direction to go? What do you think? And now, excuse me, I’m going to go sign that petition. Every message counts.

photo by: Veronicaj410

7 Steps to Revive Intimacy in Your Relationship

39f6cccfad35d69d_shutterstock_56179150.previewBy Colette Davenport

Working as a Relationship and Intimacy Coach, I often encounter male clients who report concerns about not doing the “right things” to stimulate and arouse their partner during sex. On the flip side, I also hear from women sharing versions of “we pretty much do the same thing every time” or “I’m not really into it” or “I don’t get turned on like I used to”.  These patterns have the ability to disconnect two people.

Since sex is often a touchy subject and in general, we are not in the practice of verbalizing our authentic sensual desires, I sense this challenge probably rings true for many couples at some point in their relationship. When this type of intimacy and communication start to break down, other aspects of the partnership may soon follow. However, sexual intimacy doesn’t necessarily have to wane as life gets more demanding. It can be easy to attribute the lack of energy or creativity to time constraints, kids, or exhaustion from work/life, etc. but the benefits of cultivating and maintaining a healthy sex life are too important to dismiss.

The 7-Step Sensual Sampler can help relieve some of the anxiety, frustration, or apathy in a relationship by reinstating fun, connection, and satisfaction. Imagine for a moment being curious about your lover’s turn-ons. What might it be like to have him/her lovingly explore your body? What would be possible if you were both in a playful, uninhibited state and were communicating exactly what you wanted to one another? Now imagine those same qualities of curiosity, loving exploration, playfulness, and clear communication carrying over into other aspects of your relationship. How could that strengthen the partnership?

Inspired by a Sex Nerd Sandra podcast, I recently created a the following intimate exercise to help both partners (re)discover what gets the motor running. I call it The Sensual Sampler. Think about it. When you’re uncertain what appetizer you want to eat, you order the sampler platter so you can explore and enjoy different flavors, textures, and so on. Maybe you really like some while other items on the plate don’t do it for you.  Do you ever find you’re fond of something you hadn’t tried before? Well this pleasure play exercise is just like that!

The Sensual Sampler works like this:

Step 1. Choose a time that works for both of you to just PLAY. You may have to schedule this and plan ahead if you’re very busy. Anticipation can be exciting!

Step 2. Begin playtime agreeing to just “see what feels good”. No expectations. No judgments or criticisms. No need to be serious. Really let your hair down.

Step 3. Decide who samples whom first. One of you gets to relax, breathe and feel. The other samples an area on your body no bigger than the space his/her hand (with fingers spread wide) covers.

Step 4. Kiss, lick, nibble, caress, massage, etc. that small area of your lover’s body while inviting them to respond.

Step 5. As the recipient of the sampling, share your experience with your partner. You might say things like: “good”, “not so good”, “harder”, “softer”, “more of that”, “move on”, etc. Essentially, you want to let them know what you like, what you don’t care for, and to what degree (really turns you on, feels okay, uncomfortable, etc.).

Step 6. Continue the Sensual Sampling until you’ve covered feet to knees, belly to buttocks, breasts and full back, hands, neck, ears…and ALL areas in between! Leave nothing unattended.

Step 7. Switch. Of course if you’re both so turned on and connected that the desire for passionate lovemaking is too much to ignore – go for it! Keep the fire stoked by carrying over the stimulating and arousing pleasure play techniques into intercourse.

You can always repeat steps 1-7 with the other partner sampling another time.

Based on my experience as well as the feedback I receive, if a couple is able to communicate openly in bed, they are more apt to speak freely and lovingly elsewhere.  The bonus here is you may encounter areas of your body that you did not know were pleasurable. More pleasure equals more ease. One thing’s for sure: this fun little exercise will shake up the routine. Plus, letting your hair down, communicating what feels good, and inviting your partner to playfully explore with you can really increase intimacy in a relationship. You never know, you just might learn something about your lover you have yet to discover.

Enjoy!

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professional portraitColette Davenport is a health, relationship, and intimacy coach with 20+ years of training, formal education, and life experiences culminating in a truly integrated and holistic body of work. Colette’s private practice, THRIVE [mind+body+energy], is a Tantra inspired coaching and training platform shaped by her personal philosophy, which is rooted in self-awareness, compassion, service, mindfulness, personal growth, communication, gratitude, and love. Miss Davenport studied at Texas Healing Arts Institute in Austin, TX and received a holistic health coach certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. To connect with Colette visit her website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Why Everyone is Talking About Miley Cyrus Today

Miley-Cyrus-2224429Did you watch the Video Music Awards last night? If so, did anything stand out to you?

In the company of acts like Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West, none caused as much of a stir as Miley Cyrus, the Disney-star-turned-sexpot-turned…cultural commentator?

That last descriptor might be overly generous, but it refers to the somewhat misplaced commentary on race, sexuality, and liberal politics Miley apparently seems to be dishing out with her latest performance and musical offerings.

Before we address her VMA performance, it’s first necessary to go back several months to the release of her music video for “We Can’t Stop.” A dance/party anthem reminiscent of her earlier “Party in the USA,” this video strips Miley of any semblance of sweetness or innocence and dresses her instead in a costume of unrestrained, “deviant” sexuality and, what many are calling, caricatured “cultural appropriation.”

As Dodai Stewart writes for Jezebel:

It’s important to understand that Miley is very privileged to be able to play dress up and adorn herself with the trappings of an oppressed/minority culture. She can play at blackness without being burdened by the reality of it.

Click here if you’d like to watch the music video and judge for yourself.

If the grills, the fake nails, and the gold chains aren’t enough to make you cringe at their blatant cultural essentializing of what Miley seems to view as “hip hop culture” and urban couture, then her VMA performance will probably do the trick. Miley struts across the stage in a leotard, with dancers all around her carrying gigantic stuff bears, and she proceeds to hump the air, stick a foam finger between her legs, and “twerk” up close and personal for Robin Thicke.

It’s hard to know exactly what the 20-year-old’s politics and values really are. If her “We Can’t Stop” video and VMA performance are trying to inspire some discourse on race and sexuality, then she seems to be going about it in a roundabout fashion. Does caricaturing minority culture actually encourage enfranchisement, or does it just perpetuate racism? Does trying on and playing with sexuality actually show respect to the LGBT community, or does it just over-sexualize homosexuality – lesbian relationships, in particular?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

 

Photo credit: Reuters

Is Zurich’s New Drive-In Prostitution a Good Idea?

Even putting aside the moral and ethical arguments against prostitution, there are some sound concerns expressed over the practice. For one, we must take health and safety into consideration any time people will be coming into close contact with one another. And as a still largely underground industry (unlike the medical field, where bodies also come into close contact) there is very little precedent for regulation in prostitution.

What if governments decided to stop prosecuting prostitution and instead establish measures to ensure safety and fair-play? That is exactly what Switzerland, the small, beautiful, chocolate-rich country, has been doing since 1942 when it legalized prostitution. And now, in an effort to enforce safety regulations, the Swiss city of Zurich has instituted what are colloquially being called “sex boxes.” This is essentially a drive-in brothel where cars can enter a small park with sex workers lined up all around, and clients and prostitutes can negotiate with one another to determine an agreement. Once paired, they’ll enter small wooden garages to…conduct their business.

Though there won’t be surveillance, prostitutes will need permits in order to use the facilities and will have access to panic buttons and on-site social workers in case of emergency. There are also policies in place in the country to enforce health checks and screenings in order to reduce the risk of HIV and AIDs. And the “sex box” sites also offer showers, lockers, laundry, and other facilities. As reported by the National Post:

“We built the place to be secure for the sex workers. It also had to be discreet for the sex workers and the clientele,” said Michael Herzig of Zurich’s social welfare department. “But we thought if we build the place, we can also make it look good.”

Here’s a look at the facilities:

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SWITZERLAND-PROSTITUTION-BUSINESS

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You might be surprised to learn that Switzerland isn’t alone in such policies. Eight European countries currently have legal and regulated prostitution, and countless others in Europe and around the globe have legalized but unregulated prostitution. Here’s a map outlining prostitution in Europe:

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What do you think of Zurich’s “sex boxes”? Can you imagine a U.S. city instituting something along those lines? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

Photo credit: AP Photo / John Heilprin

Photo credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Photo credit: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

Map credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Bradley Manning Announces Decision to Become a Woman

Bradley Manning, sentenced on Wednesday to 35 years in prison for releasing classified intelligence documents to Wikileaks, has come forward with a different kind of statement. A long time sufferer of gender uncertainty, Manning has decided to become a woman, now asking to called Chelsea Manning and referred to with the appropriate gender pronouns. In a statement released to TODAY, Manning wrote,

I am Chelsea Manning. I am female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.

Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, has pledged to do everything necessary to ensure Manning receives the hormone therapy she desires.

But the Army responded that they would not comply with the request:

The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder. The USDB has implemented risk assessment protocols and safety procedures to address high risk factors identified with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

This is a challenging wrinkle to add to Manning’s already complex situation, but one that must be respected and even commended. Manning has shown her courage in the face of so many obstacles. Whether you agree with her decisions or not, we have to hand it to her for committing so fully to her values and beliefs and for being and acting in accordance with her truest self.

What do you think? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Toeing the “Blurred Lines” between Naughty and Natural

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 12.22.06 PMAs the title of this post may imply, I’ve got Robin Thicke’s summer sizzler “Blurred Lines” on my mind today. On a website like Intent.com that features subjects like tempeh recipes and chakra meditations, this might leave you questioning my relativity here. But ride out this thought with me for a minute.

Typically, the only blurred line I’m contemplating is the one surrounding the smell in my car. Is that sour yogurt? Or urine? Hmmmm… (Hey, I’m a mother of several and frequent carpooler, what can I say?) But I woke up early this morning humming Thicke’s hit song. So I came downstairs before the wolf cubs awoke and pulled his video up on YouTube. Now this is an altogether different kind of blurred line. I have three letters for you: H-O-T.

Woah.

The first time I watched the video, Robin, T.I. and Pharrell were “hey-hey-heying” to gorgeous models wearing nude illusion undies and clear plastic smocks. A little kooky but the quirk was surprisingly sexy.

After watching, I wanted to hear the song again so I pressed play for a second time and found myself watching the unrated version. WHAAAATTTT???? All the women are naked! At first I thought they were still in their nude lingerie. Nope. They were rocking out wearing only skin tone thongs and tennis sneakers. Oh, and a goat. (Huh?)

I admit I kind of liked it. But it disturbed me at the same time. I’m a modern woman after all, a mother of girls, a spiritual blogger. And I’m not ignorant of the dent a production like this could make in our gender’s progress **if we so allow it, which I’m not inclined to do**. But I’d be lying if I said I hated it.

Mod Carousel, a Seattle-based boylesque troupe, created a feminist parody featuring men in flesh-tone skivvies and honestly, I felt the opposite of turned on. I’ll go so far as to say I felt “the yuck”. They were being funny, of course, but somehow a woman flaunting her sex strikes me as intriguing while a man flaunting his sex strikes me as Cro Magnon. It’s hypocritical, I know, but hypocrisy plays a starring role in life, doesn’t it?

Oh, there are all sorts of serious opinions on this song. But I’m not sure Thicke takes himself so seriously. Based on his hilarious video remake with Jimmy Kimmel and his past seemingly-orchestrated, sort-of-embarrassing, made-me-cringe-while-I-watched-it interview with Chelsea Handler, I’m thinking he’s a bit of a goof, challenging the world to get real about their own feelings about sex.

I get the blurred lines. Not only between naughty and nice but also between naughty and nature. We women don’t want to be objectified. But secretly, we kind of do. We don’t want our daughters to base their collective self image on physical beauty, but good looks undoubtedly has an important place in our human experience. Those who don’t have it yearn for it and those who do have it work it to their advantage.

And then there’s just the sex of it all. Sex is in our nature. It’s part of our existence. But so many people, especially here in America, are ashamed to talk about it. It’s here that we toe that blurred line of sex and image and what is really offensive and what is just real. I don’t know the answer myself, but I imagine it’s part of life’s mystery that will forever be debated.

All things considered, as much as I love the song, the video makes me feel uncomfortable to watch. Is that because I’m a Puritanical New Englander and I’ve been nurtured to cover up my nature? Or is it because these men should be laying on a couch with David Duchovny trying to balance a sex addiction? I’m not sure if it matters, because whatever the reason, I love being a woman and I’m happy with myself the way I am – in a turtleneck and pants.

Oh, there are so many directions we could take this. What are you thoughts? Naughty? Or natural? Chime in below.

Are Girls Selling Their Bodies To Pay For College?

Marcel and I Doing Our Thing

Every now and then a story like this comes into the public arena. Burdened by college loans and living costs, a girl turns to porn (or escort services or being a dominatrix) just to stay above water. We feel sympathetic to these stories, bemoaning a troubled education system or the poor job market. But with social networking sites like MyGirlFund now littering every corner of the internet, and every fetish, fantasy, and “deviance” attainable at the click of a button, such techniques may become the way of the future. And that’s a scary reality.

MyGirlFund markets itself as a place for men and women to come together to “achieve their specific goals.” By that it means that women sign in to the site and set a fundraising goal they’d like to meet. Men sign in and can peruse the women, engage them in chat and video conversations, and contribute to their funds if they wish. The women will up the ante by posting nude or semi-nude photos and videos of themselves and set prices to certain “goods.” As an example, one woman posted: “$55 til goal… hit it for me and you get 6 vids.” Another posted: “All content $30!!” And there’s no mistaking what the “content” entails.

MyGirlFund is now reporting that many college girls are flocking to the site before matriculating, hoping to make some money for their college tuition. The site’s Director of Business Development, Stefan Patrick commented:

Members list their financial goals when they join and the new coeds are vocal about their tuition needs. One new member penned the memorable line, ‘When good girls can’t pay their tuition, anything can happen,’ on her profile, but overall these are young women who would never consider stripping, porn or public group cam shows.

Patrick argues that the women have total autonomy and that the site can actually be very empowering for them, allowing them to achieve their goals in a safe and private environment. Clearly this guy, and others involved with the website, can’t appreciate the deeply degrading and sexist system we live in that makes girls think their bodies can be assigned monetary value. But we’ve lived in this world with its rampant gender inequality long enough to know that men will pay for women to bare their bodies.

On that note, we’d like to know who these men are who get pleasure out of gawking at women in such a materialistic way. Perhaps it wouldn’t seem so offensive if the exhibitionism and voyeurism at least went both ways, but MyGirlFund organized the site in such a way that male and female roles are rigidly defined. Either way, we have to find healthier ways of paying tuition and making a living — not to mention connecting with other human beings in meaningful ways.

What do you think? Is this an acceptable way for girls to earn their college tuition, or is this as backwards, sexist, and disrespectful as it seems? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

A Life of Drag, As Described by Real Drag Queens

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 1.46.30 PMMost people know the term: Drag queen. There may be some feeling, belief, or opinion that goes along with the connotation, whether positive or negative. For many, “drag queen” describes a man who dresses up as a woman, perhaps in a flamboyant or performative way. But it that really the end of the story?

Not according to Vicky Vox and Raja Gemini, two Los Angeles-based drag queens who make it their business to ensure the community is properly repped. In this episode of “Subcultures,” Soulpancake goes behind the scenes to flesh out the drag community, not just as an alternative lifestyle but also as a healing path that many, like Vicky and Raja, are transformed by.

As Vicky and Raja allude to, there is so much more to drag than meets the eye. Here are 3 amazing facts about drag that you might not have known:

  1. Drag has been around since ancient times, when women were barred from acting on stage and men played both male and female roles.
  2. The term “drag” is believed to come from 19th century theater slang, describing the long skirts male actors wore when playing female roles.
  3. The first openly gay person to ever run for public office was also a drag queen, named José Sarria.

Do you know any drag performers? Have you ever been to a drag show? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Is It Love or Is It Projection?

RequiebroBy Rebeca Eigen

There is something magical about the experience of “falling in love.” Psychologically it is their feeling function that gets activated when two lovers first meet. Emotions burst forth and sparks fly that ignite a passion and an unmistakable bliss. When you are with that person, you are “in heaven,” so to speak. And when you are away from them, you are longing for the next encounter. As the song says, “Suddenly life has new meaning to me,” and they are transported into the realms of the Gods (the archetypes). In our Western culture, our movies provide us plenty of examples of this experience — so much so that we all yearn for it.

We mistakenly call this love, and many find themselves searching for their other half, their “soul mate.” We believe that this is what will complete us and that this magic is what we feel to truly value another person. As you will see when you understand the nature of the “Anima” and “Animus,” this is only the beginning of an encounter with our unconscious.

It’s interesting that the word “soul” also means psyche. In the psychology of Dr. Carl G. Jung, he explains this phenomenon of projecting our Anima and Animus (the contrasexual soul images in our unconscious) onto each other. The psyche seeks wholeness, and a union of our inner opposites is what Jung called the process of individuation. When projection occurs, this process has begun as these contrasexual images are now out in the open. We will learn a lot about ourselves by the people we either extremely love or hate.

Often we will fall in love and get involved in some very unsuitable, destructive and soul-destroying relationships, but these, too, are showing us aspects of our shadow. In order to grow and be a whole person, we need to become aware of what is really happening. When someone is “into us”, we need to ask ourselves, “Is it love or is it just projection?” Two people won’t know until time gives them a chance to see who each other actually is — and this requires self-honesty and self-disclosure.

There is no other way to see these parts of us, so it’s inevitable that they will be projected. The intoxication and the intensity of the experience are clues that we are into a projection. Ordinary human beings do not evoke the instant passion that “love at first sight” evokes.

The Anima and Animus

A woman carries an image of her male counterpart that Jung called the “Animus.” This unconscious inner male is her God (soul) image that gets projected onto a man in the outer world. As inner and outer create a mirroring effect, she will know a lot about what shape her inner partner is in by the person upon whom the projection lands. The clue to knowing a projection has occurred is the feeling of intense fascination or obsession with a man whom she will feel is her ideal mate.

A man faces a similar dilemma. When a man projects his perfect God (soul) image onto a woman, she becomes the carrier of his “Anima.” His Anima acts as a muse to bridge the gap between his inner and outer worlds. She animates him from within.

When this happens to both people at the same time, we call this “falling in love.” They definitely fall. They fall into their own unconscious image as each projects part of himself or herself onto the other person evoking a feeling of fantasy and Eros. The erotic and sexual nature of the encounter is psychologically symbolic. It is each one wanting to merge with or penetrate into themselves.

As time goes on, it is inevitable that projections are going to fall off. They actually have to so that we can see who the other person actually is and relate to a real person instead of a God or Goddess (a symbiotic extension of oneself). When relationships reach this stage of familiarity, many people addicted to this kind of high start looking outside their primary marriage or partnership. Many relationships end and the alchemical process begins all over again with someone else. Some go on to marry the person with whom they feel they are “in love with,” and later become disillusioned when they realize that they have married a person who is not who they thought they were.

On the other hand, if they are both committed to their relationship, growing and becoming conscious, when the projections dissolve, there is an opportunity that arrives for both people. They can now discover and embrace their missing halves. This is not an easy task as it takes work and often involves a painful encounter with the Self. In Mysterium Coniunctionis, Jung says that an experience with the Self is always a defeat for the ego but that the death of the ego (the Self as you knew it) allows one to be reborn into one’s own wholeness as projections are taken back.

In taking back our projections, we can now see and accept our partners for who they are — not what we wanted them to be; not what we wish they would change into; not for what they can give us; but who they are. The love that can now grow between them is profound because it is REAL. Real love, unlike projection, is a willingness to see and support another person to be their own unique, separate self. This will untangle us from seeking in them the perfect parent-mirror image of ourselves, for as long as we are still seeking to be completed by another person, we will not allow them their own autonomy.

As love between them grows and expands to the entire cosmos, this kind of love gives each partner their freedom — the greatest gift of all. As the duet by Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion professes, LOVE will be the gift you give yourself.

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RebecaEigen-72-dpiRebeca Eigen, an astrologer for 25+ years and author of The Shadow Dance & the Astrological 7th House Workbook, specializes in relationships. Using your time, date, and place of birth, she uses the astrological birth chart to evoke the symbolic and help you become more aware of your total Self. Her study of the Shadow using Astrological tools has given her an invaluable awareness of the unconscious and the role it plays in the relationships that we attract into our lives. For more information, visit her Web site: www.shadowdance.com.

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