Yesterday I was blessed and privileged to have a long Facetime conversation with Lindsay Kyte – she just waking in Halifax Canada, and I just returning from a day out in nature in Yorkshire, UK.
Lindsay was one of my MA students about 8 years ago at LIPA (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts). She is now an award winning play-write, TEDx speaker, and editor of The Lion’s Roar – the premier Buddhist magazine in N America.
When Lindsay first returned to Canada, she turned to me for some long distance life coaching and now I have been able to turn to her for for help with the re-writing of my website.
But yesterday we were reflecting deeply on our shared demons, and the need for compassion – in particular self compassion.
For the last couple of years, this month of August, when clients and daughter are away, has seen the rearing heads of my ‘not enough’ demons: ‘Not good enough, not hardworking enough, not published enough, not known enough, not rich enough, not spiritual enough, not kind enough…..’ My ‘not enough’ demons are legion.
This year, I am facing those demons down by deliberate choices based on compassion and recognition of the interconnectedness of life.
I love this image of the impact of single droplets into water – how individually they create expanding concentric circles, and how each of those interact with others to create differing patterns, impacts, stories and lives.
And it gave me great joy in talking to Lindsay, in hearing her talk of strategies that I had offered her all those years ago, and how they impacted on the choices she has made in her life, and how those choices impact on so many others with whom she comes into contact, both through her life and through her work. It helps me to reconnect to choices I often find hard to make. It helps me to give value to each individual interaction I have and gives me a sense of meaning and purpose.
We spoke too, of how often we each give energy to things that are not essential, and neglect the things we know will deeply nourish us. While we often give much thought and energy to finding compassion for others, the practice of self compassion is a more elusive one – especially for someone like me, brought up on the tenet of ‘think of others before yourself’.
Lindsay sent this link to Tara Brach’s 10 minute process she calls the RAIN of Compassion:
A – Accept
I – Investigate
N – Nourish
Tara’s voice is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I have found her Mindfulness exercises valuable at times when I have felt unable to quiet my own anxieties.
Seven years ago (!) some of my necklaces got seriously entangled. My parents were staying with me at the time, and I handed them to my father, who loved to sit in a chair…but after an hour, he gave up, and so did I.
Five years ago I moved city and house, taking with me my bundle of necklaces. Since then, they have ‘adorned’ a bowl in my room, gathering dust and being otherwise useless.
Earlier this year, I read Marie Kondo’s Book, ‘The Magic of Tidying”, and am happy to say, have been putting some of her suggestions into practice. I disagree with her suggestion that one should sort by type, rather than location. If I had nothing else to do for about two weeks, that might have worked, but I have worked systematically through my house, room by room, following her most excellent suggestion of handling every piece of ‘stuff”. Anything that does not give joy and/or is useful, goes.
I am a hoarder by nature, and being self employed, am also obliged to hoard a certain amount of paperwork. But I have been through every piece of paper I have kept for the last 30 odd years, every piece of clothing, every drawer, cupboard, nook and cranny, and boy does it feel wonderful to clear!
My room was the last in the house, and I had been through everything and was on the last leg of the tidy up when a friend, who disappears for months on end, rang. I had been procrastinating about this last effort, and had only two hours available, and when he calls, he talks! So I confess I multi tasked by taking the nearest thing to hand – my necklaces, to work on while listening.
By the time we finished, I felt as though I was getting somewhere, and it felt imperative to finish the job. As I sat on the floor, patiently picking and weaving, getting to dead ends and having to start again elsewhere, my mind began writing this blog.
Our qualities and gifts are like beautiful, precious Wooden Rings by Urban Designer that are given to us to adorn, to sparkle, to catch the light, to beautify us. Yet often we allow them to get enmeshed, to gather dust, to become unfit for purpose. Then not only we, but those with whom we come in contact are impoverished.
It feels very significant to me that I have managed to untangle these jewels of mine. It took me a long time, and I had to keep looking for different strands, and approach the problem from different perspectives (necklaces). But how lovely to once again have eight necklaces that I can use and enjoy! Interestingly one or two don’t really go with what I wear any more and I am giving them away so someone else can enjoy them.
Colour has always been really important to me, and I was interested that all these necklaces were either purple or orange. In the energy meditations I studied, these colours have to do with spirituality, (purple) and self esteem, creativity and sexuality (orange).
Now here I venture into the realms of things I experience but don’t fully understand. Moreover, I know that some of my friends who are steeped in Christianity will feel I am heading off on a path of the devil! Some of my intelligent, left brained friends and colleagues may feel I have gone ‘too mystical’. For a very long time I have drawn these things into my life and work in a practical way, but have not owned up to them publicly for fear of censure. I do feel though, that they form part of my jewels that I have to share.
One of the things on my bucket list is to find a way to understand and articulate what I know and experience about energy in such a way as to make it understandable to those who espouse Christianity and scientific enquiry (my background – fundamental, evangelical Christianity and a Maths Degree). So feel free to challenge or engage me further on this!
Interestingly, many people I know go to Yoga classes or have acupuncture. I wonder if they realise that they are essentially espousing some of the concepts I am going to address…. next time! Or this blog will be too long…
Recently I have been made aware that I am acquiring a teenage readership.
So I thought I might as well give you all something to get your teeth into, and what more exciting than sex and spirituality, particularly as there is so much information on ‘what to do and how to do it’ and yet very little on either love, or the impact of having sex.
These days I understand life, not through a lens of morality, but of energy. I realise that this leads me into immediate potential difficulty, as I only have ‘A’ Level physics, and even my brief reading of the correlation of energy and matter (eg Einstein’s equation E=mc2)makes me realise that I am unable to explain many of my ideas in strictly scientific terms. The scientist part of me (I have a degree in Maths, for those of you who don’t know me), balks at being fluffy. However, as this is merely a blog and not a scientific treatise, and is intended to provoke thought and discussion, I will continue.
So I will own at the outset that these are observations based on my experience, both of life and working with people and meditations learned over a period of 25 years.
I have been spring cleaning, and came across my old meditation notebooks, which I have been re-reading. I came across one of my many mind maps from a winter meditation of 1997.
It stated that Sexuality and Spirituality needed to be the same – viz. an expression of finer energy, leading to blend and nourishment: that a split causes problems, that sexuality is often fantasy and emotional release.
So I have been thinking about that, and how I could explain it in a way that might make sense to 16 year olds. In my generation and slightly younger, when people start talking about energy in relation to people, others almost instantly label them as ‘sandals brigade new agers’, but that is probably meaningless to the generations of the noughties, as I think it is rather 80’s or 90’s.
Interestingly we live in a world today that takes energy for granted – wifi, bluetooth, Facetime. Snapchat etc are all part of daily life that we absolutely take for granted unless they are not available, when it becomes extremely annoying. Personally I still find it mindbogglingly extraordinary that I can hold a tiny piece of kit in my hand, press a button, and both see and hear my mother SIX THOUSAND MILES AWAY on the other side of the planet. Please just stop and think about it for a moment, and what that means in terms of the speed of transfer of all that energy which is organised into picture and sound.
I find that I need to go back to basic Physics when I am thinking about how we embody and transfer energy through ourselves, rather than through electronic devices. In our ‘O’ Level physics (GCSE to you), we did an experiment which involved magnetising a knitting needle. So if you stroke a knitting needle with a magnet enough times, the knitting needle itself becomes a magnet. If you put the needle on a piece of paper and pour iron filings around it, the iron filings will form themselves into a pattern around the needle.
I have included a link below on how to make a compass from a sewing needle for those of you brave enough to venture where there is no GPS.
The point is, that the molecules of this supposedly solid object actually rearrange themselves and align up in a particular way, creating a magnet that is capable of attracting and/or repelling other things.
We know that water can exist as a solid, liquid or gas depending on temperature. When the temperature is low enough, or the molecules are vibrating slowly, water exists as ice. As the temperature, or speed of vibration increases, the ice melts and forms a liquid, and as the temperature and speed increase, they turn to steam. Heat emitted from a radiator is not visible unless there is sunlight falling on dust particles near the radiator, at which point the heat is visible as a shimmer of the dust particles. But just because we can’t see energy, doesn’t mean that it is not present. I sometimes have a minor freak out at all the wifi energy passing through me!
Feelings and emotions carry energy. If someone says something particularly cruel or hurtful, we can experience it as a thump to the stomach area, and feel physically winded. Equally experiencing kindness and love can make us feel warm and soft, or excited and aroused.
I understand spirituality energetically. People use the term ‘Higher Energy’ sometimes to describe spirituality. This is because, as I understand it, we can channel energy that is either quite dense, such as anger, or we can channel love, which is a finer, fast moving energy. Love is a particularly powerful energy – diffuse but deeply penetrating. There have been scientific experiments done with buddhist monks, which have demonstrated that after 10,000 hours of meditation, there is a change in the structure of the brain (exciting topic of neuroplasticity) in much the same way as continual stroking of a needle with a magnet creates a change in the molecular structure of a needle. This is one of the reasons why the practice of mindfulness has become so popular, and is even being introduced into schools. Taking time to meditate or pray regularly, in my understanding, is a way of aligning our energy so that we are clear and can trust our bodies and intuition. In my teaching of Alexander Technique, I have noticed over 25 years, that the body does not lie. If someone tells me something that their body is strongly contradicting, I will usually give more credence to the body because we are sometimes past masters at fooling our own minds, but not our bodies.
Sex, and particularly penetrative sex, is a very powerful transfer of energy between people and my point is that it is not possible to have sex with someone without it having an impact, depending on the energy that is present in the two people at the time. Just as the air temperature will have an impact on us, so will sex. It is also true that depending on the individual’s sensitivity, the air temperature will have a greater or lesser impact. I think the same is true of sexual intercourse, but the impact will be present, to a greater or lesser degree.
Back to basic physics and resonance. Resonance occurs in two objects when the first object is vibrating at the natural frequency of the second object. In terms of sound, this is experienced in an increase in amplitude of the sound wave, and increased sound.(Link for further study of resonance below)
In sexual terms, it seems to me that when two people are able to blend their energies harmoniously, resonance occurs and the experience is a fulfilling, nourishing one. Sadly, the prevalence of porn on the internet as a way of understanding and learning about sex, means that any understanding of blend and harmony is often absent, and at best sex seems to be about emotional release, and at worst, all kinds of dominance, bullying and power.
True blending can only take place when two people are willing to be vulnerable to one another. One of the many reasons for sexual infidelity within relationships is that people find it too difficult to be vulnerable with the person with whom they are deeply emotionally involved. They then try to separate the arousal and excitement they experience in sex (particularly with a relatively unknown person) from the vulnerability that comes from sharing this most intimate of experiences with someone who knows them and all their weaknesses.
But in the same way as you would be unlikely to put yourself in the way of someone who was going to beat you physically, be wary of putting yourself in the way of someone who would energetically beat you up through the medium of sex. In the same way that convected heat can only be seen when sunlight and dust particles are present, the damage from the abuse of energy in sex is often (at least initially) invisible but nonetheless powerful. Learn to pay attention to your body and your energy – if you feel a ‘nagging anxiety’ or physical pain when contemplating sex, pause, listen to it and follow it. It has much wisdom, and particularly when you regularly pay attention to yourself in aligning and clearing your energy.
The law of energy conservation states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but only changed from one form to another and transferred from one object to another. So without going into morality, right/wrong, good/bad, when you decide to engage in sex, take some time to think about what energy you are giving or receiving, for there is no getting away from it and it will impact on you either positively or negatively……