Right after expressing ourselves, comes paying attention to the response of others to our expressions. On the one hand we are responsible for sharing ourselves, our thoughts and our feelings and on the other hand we have the opportunity to experience another’s self, thoughts and feelings when we actively listen.
One of the greatest benefits of actively listening is being able to understand and really hear your conversation partner. In other words, you create a space in time where and when you are both able to hear and be heard in a way that encourages trust, support, intimacy and authenticity.
Hence the beginning of establishing potential for more, more conversation, more intimacy and even more authenticity.
If you are ready, willing and able to actively listen, then perhaps you are also ready willing and able to authentically share a dialogue with the ones you are with.
I encourage you to take a chance and make a moment to try out some of these techniques with someone you care about. See how is goes. I would love to hear about your process.
Here we are again! This is Sean and I am here to say “We are on our way!” If you have been following this Blog-Lesson series then you have done the work on yourself with yourself! Consequently, we are now ready to share what we have learned and who we are with the world. In other words it is time to consider and explore communication.
On one hand our eyes are one of our most sensitive sensory organs. On the on other hand our eyes are connected directly to our brains. In other words, they are also the window to our souls. They show us how we are feeling and express something beyond words.
Exercise1: Start with yourself..
Look at yourself in the mirror
Look directly at your eyes
Observe their shape and their color
Can you see the whites of your eyes?
Roll your eyes and look at how they move
Watch them move, what do you see
Peek deeper into your eyes
See your pupils are they big, small or in between…
Look at your irises: blue, grey, green, golden or dark brown
Look for the fire, the glint the energy and enthusiasm.
Look again and see the smile in your eyes.
Everyone else sees this too! At least those who are paying attention. Get people attention by looking into their eyes.
Experiment: Start with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. You will find they will notice, listen and be more attentive to you when you take a moment, stop and look them in the eye. Additionally, this seemingly small action encourages respect and consideration of the message and presence of others.
We have talked about caring for our bodies and hygiene. We have explored how our bodies feel and how we feel when we touch our own bodies. Hence, it is time to consider our bodies are also one of our first transmitters of information and communication. Furthermore, our bodies are a communication tool.
What do you see? How is your posture? Where are your shoulders arm, hands? Are you standing up straight or slouching? Do you feel balanced? Are you stable on four feet/in your shoes? Do you like what you have on? Do you have anything on? Are you alone in private or in a public space?
Lower your chin until it is parallel to the ground.
Looking at yourself roll your shoulder upwards and backwards until the sit slightly behind your armpits. Feel your body.
Pull in your stomach and push your hips forwards.
How do you look now?
Do you see a difference? How much of a difference? Do you like the difference? Each of these exercises can be done with or without a mirror. And can help us to be more aware of how we present ourselves to others in our surroundings. Try lifting your chin and rolling your shoulders before addressing a family member or a colleague and look them in the eye. See if this affects how the react and respond to you in the moment.
Let me know 😊 what you think.
That is all for this time. Three exercises and two experiments are more than enough for one read. I wish you all the best in your explanations and communications. This is Sean “Be nice to you, please.”
In other words, our bodies remember both “positive/pleasurable/happy” and “negative/painful/traumatic” memories. This suggests that our pleasure and our feelings of attraction, excitement pleasure may be related to actual physical events we have experienced in our pasts. These events may or may not have been intentional or directly related to our intimate lives.
Our experience of the body is not direct; rather, it is mediated by perceptual information, influenced by internal information, and recalibrated through stored implicit and explicit body representation (body memory).
Therefore, I am going to describe a few exercises to help us access knowledge and understanding of our own bodies. Read each exercise to the end of the description before you begin. Then as you remember the exercise, experience it for yourself.
Sit comfortably or lie down.
Close your eyes.
Think about your feet and be aware of your toes for a moment…relax
Think about and be aware of your ankles for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your calves for a moment and relax
Think about and be aware of your knees for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your thighs for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your hips for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your buttocks for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your pelvis for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your lower back for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your stomach for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your chest for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your upper-back for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your hands for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your forearms for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your elbows for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your upper arms for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your shoulders for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your neck for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your Jaw for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your tongue for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your chin for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your lips for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your nose for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your eyes for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your forehead for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your whole face for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your ears for a moment…and relax
Think about and be aware of your head for a moment…and relax
And now, be aware of your whole body for a moment…and relax
Well Done! Now you are in your body, relaxed and aware.
Now, I want you to hold your hands. How do they feel? Are they warm or cold? Are they damp or dry? In other words, do you like how they feel? What are you aware of?
Now, hold them tighter,
cross your finger together.
Feel your hands,
touch your fingernails with your fingers,
lightly press your palms together,
touch the back of your dominant hand, caress your “submissive” hand.
Consider how they feel to you, as well as, how your touch feels.
Switch hands and experience the process again.
Again, sitting or lying down.
Lay your hands on your chest. In the middle over your heart/breastbone.
Let them lay there.
Feel your chest move as your lungs fill with air…
and exhale. Feal your chest as you exhale.
Do this for about a minute minute.
Be aware of your breath and your chest.
Now notice your hands.
Importantly, how do your hands feel? Are they heavy or light, warm or cool? Which hand is on your chest and which is on your hand?
(The lists, exercises, and these blog-lessons are maintained in a google and family friendly format. For more information, vocabulary, more intimate or direct language, please contact me.)
Enough 4 Now
Ultimately, I think we have done enough exploration for now. If you want more or have something to share please contact me. This is Sean saying „Be Safe, Love Yourself and Be Well!“ Till next time!
It’s Sean here, I am back with the question: What’s next? Last time we looked at the clinical concept of lovemaps and their natural/native development. This correlates with the development of a native language. In summation, we discussed the clinical concept of our natural lovemaps being unfettered and mature around age eight.
In an ideal environment
That is to say, we are potentially ready at eight years of age to start exploring and enjoying age appropriate love and intimate relationships with agemates. Exploring and Learning in a healthy, supportive and sexually positive and enlightened culture, society and family. Subsequently, we would all grow up well adjusted intimately, intellectually, and emotionally secure. In essence, we would be prepared for the love and loves of our lives as they present themselves.
In the real world
The idea/concept is fantastically and wonderfully satisfying. Unfortunately, most of us do not live and are not raised in such families, societies, or cultures. The resulting effect is that our lovemaps, our “idealized and highly idiosyncratic image” of ourselves, our lovers and our relationships can and often are negatively impacted.
Lovemaps and their Distortions
On one hand, our native lovemaps are most often mature and established by the age of eight, on the other, our love maps remain pliable yet fragile. In other words, our lovemaps are at risk of misunderstanding, avoidance, neglect, abuse, prohibition and inhibition. Our natural curiosity and affections can be purposely and/or accidentally hurt, harmed, impaired, distorted, and damaged though experiences with peers and adults as we develop from children to adults and beyond.
…sexuoerotic development is blanketed by an avoidance taboo.
Lovemaps, John Money
Our schools, churches, peer groups, and even our homes can be sources of censorship, punishment and embarrassment around the issues of intimacy, affection, and nudity. Sexuoerotic development is often willfully ignored or discounted as innappropriate or unnecessary. Any negative experiences in these areas can adversely impact our lovemaps and our desire or ability to express ourselves comfortably and honestly with not only our friends, family and partners, but also potentially with ourselves as well.
Through these experiences our native lovemaps become injured. As with physical injuries, our “lovemap” injuries must heal. Through the healing process we often develop scars. These scars are reminders of our experiences, our injuries and our healing. In a sense, these “love” scars can be thought of as our own special intimate and sacred knowledge. The truth of both our inherent and instinctive intimate desires as well as our acquired affections and intimate interests.
Lovemap defacement my be extensive, but total obliteration is unlikely.
Lovemaps, John Money
The result of our experiences, both positive and negative, in our childhood and adolescent years into adulthood continue to shape and inform our lovemaps throughout our lives. It is never to late to heal and recover. Healing ourselves and our intimate lives. This is part of the process towards establishing a healthy happy intimate adult (HHIA) relationships. We can do this at any age and in every moment.
In this moment, I am going to say „bye till next time“. Next time we will look at where and how we begin to heal. This is Sean signing off.
Sean here again and it is time to change direction or focus just a bit. We have been talking about life and love, relationships and attraction in the abstract. In other words, we have been exploring all of these things in universal terms.
Now it is time to talk about and think about you specifically. In other words, a bit of self-exploration about where and how some of the things we have already come into your hear, your mind, your body and your consciousness.
You see we are all a combination of genetics, upbringing, socialization and a variety of information and stimulus from the outside world combined with our reception, perception and interpretation of those impulses.
Let’s start with your perception of your body, your physical self. This is sort of where we left off last time with the “Timing” of our bodies and the changes we experience during our lives.
The first question we need to explore to understand ourselves is:
Where do I come from?
This is a personal variation on the question: Where do babies come from?
The most basic and focused answer to this question is that you were created when a sperm cell entered an egg cell. Subsequently these two cells merge and divide to create a new you.
From this instant a variety of variables start to come into play. You are affected from the beginning by your mother’s and father’s biology through DNA and genetic combinations. Furthermore, the relationship between your biological mother and father and their feelings about your existence is important to your earliest development.
In other words, you are affected by every action or your mother. While still in the womb you expeience the world through her. These actions include food consumption, exercise, and sleep patterns. Additionally her use of caffeine, sugar, vitamins, alcohol, nicotine and medication impact you in vivo. Furthermore, your mother’s physical and emotional stress comes into play. In short, all of this impacts you before you are even born.
Separated at birth
Birth is your first separation from your entire universe, your mother.
This can be a natural, medical, or drug induced process that can take a relatively short to an excruciatingly long time. These factors as well as our maturity at birth, approximately 7 to 10 months, have a further affect on our early development.
Then comes the input from our caregivers:
Breastfeeding, or not
immediate or delayed response to crying
attention and affection
helicoptering or absenteeism
All of these have a great effect on your perception of the world from before you can remember.
As a child you have firsts: steps, words, day of school, friendships, and relationships. First, your relationships start with your parent(s), siblings, and extended family. Secondarily, your relationships continue to broaden to your neighbors, your teachers, other children, boys & girls and even your pets and other animals you meet in the world. Thus, influencing how you expand and progress in the world and how you perceive and respond to the world around you as an adult.
Self-aware not Self-centered
In this vein, contemplating and reflecting on these experiences and relationships can help you to better understand and process your thoughts and feelings. Certainly this includes the people in your life, your friendships, and relationships as well as your thoughts and feelings in these situations and with these people both in the past and today.
This was Sean and that’s enough to think about for one Blog-Lesson. Next time we are going to continue to explore how you develop desires and preferences with regard to intimate relationships. More about me.
Potentially Problematic Fantasies & Fantasy Objects
We are back with a bit more about Fantasy. This is Sean. Last time we spoke about fantasy and its relationship with self-consent.
All fantasies are potentially positive, instructive and helpful. Still, some fantasies express themselves within taboos, questionable events or with questionable focus.
Private or Secret
When we think about fantasy it can be helpful to consider if the fantasy is private or a secret. To clarify, privacy is a safe and personal space where we can grow and explore ourselves. However secrets tend to be inherently, or internally considered unmentionable or wrong.
Again, we should remember that objectification is the absense of consent. This does not support the creation or development of HHIA relationships.
In other words, the focus of our fantasies onto a specific object, when this object is unaware, unavailable, or unsuitable for HHIA relationships, can be harmful. Because we can find ourselves emotionally or physically acting out in less than ideal ways.
Consequently finding ourselves in unhealthy, unsatisfying and even illegal situations. This depending on our fantasy object and our responses, actions and expression of those fantasies.
Maybe not in your best interest
Fantasy objects and other fantasies that may not be in your best interest fall into three categories:
First: Those fantasy objects which are specific people who do not know you, whom you don’t know or who aren’t aware of your interest in them.
The challenge of a specific unknown or unknowing fantasy object, whether it be a celebrity, an ex, or a specific stranger, is their emotional unavailability and your isolation. This disconnect between fantasy and reality can become an obsession. Thereby, restricting our ability to experience real feelings and real attraction.
Second: There are four potential objects, specific objects or individuals which are unavailable for HHIA Relationships as explored in our first lesson-blog. In other words: children, animals, relatives and the no longer living.
On the one hand we have the potential real-world trouble with a specific unsuitable fantasy object: negative social cultural and legal consequences. On the other is the negative emotional response to such a fantasy object. This can be feelings of guilt, shame or humiliation.
Finally: The third category of fantasy object or activity which can be challenging is a fantasy which you personally find repulsive, dirty, or “wrong”. Thus, it is unmentionable or taboo for you. These can include a variety of non-conformist, alternative or violent activities.
Working with a partner or a professional to explore the reasons for your uncomfortability could be helpful.
Fantasy – Management
However, fantasies in themselves are healthy and serve a purpose as explored last time.
Because we are talking primarily about narrowing or limiting a fantasy; youth, beauty, excitement, and such, to a specific object, this focus can be avoided or averted through communication. This could be a dialogue with yourself, your partner, a close friend, or a therapist. In this way a fantasy which seems to be a secret can be transformed into a private matter for yourself or you and an intimate partner.
Giving consent to ourselves and others
All fantasies can potentially be shared and explored with a (the right) partner or partners who are appropriate for an HHIA relationship. This is a choice you can make when ever you are ready. If you need or want help, please, contact me or a professional you can trust.
Thank you for your attention and consideration. I am available and interested in your questions and comments about fantasies; your own or in general.
Next time we’ll be moving away from fantasy to explore some reality.
Hello everybody! Sean here to follow-up on our last Blog-Lesson and the concept of consent as well as our communication and understanding of it.
We agreed last time that consent involves: “…two equal partners in an objective situation communicating,…“
But, due to the relativity of concepts such as “equal” and “objective” in our daily lives, we have to be constantly aware of our own feelings and try to be considerate and ask our partners about their experiences in the world.
Our daily lives challengestability and safety at every turn. Each day is full of events and interactions which can bring questions and concerns about our lives, our bodies, our feelings, and our existence. These are significant to our understanding and communicating consent.
„No“ is always acceptable, any time
In other words, simply said:
„No“ is always an acceptable response at any time in a healthy, happy, intimate adult (HHIA) relationship.
And, just to be clear: „Stop“ is „no“ in action or movement and must be acknowledged and responded to immediately.
Consent starts with our first introduction and interactions, and continues throughout our lives in relationship to other people.
Consent is also a synonym of permission and approval. With this in mind, we could say consent should be confident and maybe even enthusiastic.
If at any time you aren’t getting this vibe, you should probably take a minute or two and talk about what is going on with you and with your partner. What are you wanting to do together, at what speed, intensity and frequency. Clarity is a key to consent, trust and enthusiasm.
Yes, No, Maybe, Maybe Not
Understanding that “maybe not” or a hesitant maybe from your inner voice or your partner suggest an insecurity or sense of danger that can help us to build trust. This uncertainty is an opportunity to explore with each other through conversation and further communication.
Through definition or description you can find greater understanding and clarity about your desires and your partners requests. Your experiences as a pair and as individuals can teach us more about one another and help us feel safe together through dialogue.
Once you have gotten a confident and enthusiastic „Yes“, you can move forward with your partner with a closer connection than before.
Everything we have discussed is constantly changing and must be validated and confirmed with new experiences, changes in direction, speed or intention.
Communication is Key
Communication and consideration are keys to building trust, safety and intimacy in our (HHIA) Relationships.
Just as consent is an essential building block of intimacy, love and trust, consent is a constant variable in our lives.
By being aware of our feelings and thoughts about consent and communicating them, we can achieve greater understanding and respect for one another in a relationship.
In this way consent stabilizes and strengthens our bonds through time. Each intimate instance is based on this simple concept.
Sean back again and with your permission we are going to talk about consent, communication, and consideration.
Consent begins with communication and consideration. The concept of “two equal partners” in an “objective” situation communicating, and considering a positive (YES) response to a question or request being just as acceptable as a negative (NO) response.
Consent is a very simple concept, and at the same time quite complicated in practice. So, let’s go back to our parameters from Blog-Lesson 1. Take a minute and review, if you wish. With these in mind, we can look at „the who of consent“.
Who can consent? An adult can consent. An equal can consent. A lucid adult who is an equal can consent. A lucid, equal with a sound mind and body can request and consent to intimacy.
Since the world is constantly spinning, our understanding of power, equality, objectivity, yes, and no tend to be in a constant changeability and are influenced by both internal and external factors including history, experience and emotions.
Yours, Mine, Ours
In this sense, your consent is dependenton your last word.* In other words, your consent is always timely, subjective and fluid. You can change your consent at every moment. If you ever feel uncomfortable, unsafe or… for any reason. You can always change your mind and change your consent.
My consent is the same.
Our consent is a combination of both our expression to (spoken) and our recognition of (listening to) one another.
Communicating, being listened to and considered are the foundations of building trust and, consequently, feelings of intimacy, and the desire for more interaction.
Yes and no are of equal value and should be heard, listened to, and respected immediately. In this way both our internal dialogue, gut feelings, moods and our communication with our partners need to be considered and acted upon as immediately and honestly as possible. This furthers our ability to trust and feel safe in vulnerable and intimate situations.
and with your permission
Consent is synonymous with agreement, approval, harmony and willingness, to name a few. So, you could say we are all constantly seeking consent to improve our lives, feelings and situations. And the best way to get it is to ask for it. This is a good place to stop and reflect. Maybe have a conversation. This is Sean and I would love to hear your thoughts. I will be back next time with Blog-lesson 8: Consent (2). More about me
It’s Sean again! Now that we have taken a moment to talk and think about our bodies and the bodies we find beautiful, let’s consider the whole person. Someone we can imagine being attracted to, having a converation with and maybe even…
The Four Elements
If we imagine a whole person there are lots and lots of vaiables. It can help to think of a whole person as a combination of “elements”. In western society we have four elements: earth, water, air and fire. These elements can be decribed as different aspects of our personhood or beingness.
So, you can say, use this system to describe the different aspects of a person you might know, like to know or be attracted to. For instance, we can say that each element represents a specific set of features of someone. And we have already started with the earth element:
Earth = Body/Fitness
In other words, let’s look back to our last Blog-lesson. We discussed the physical attributes of our attraction. If we consider the physical reality of our bodies and the material aspects of our existence as the earth element, then we have already taken a moment to explore the earth element. We, at the very least, got started. The earth element represents our bodies, our fitness, our physics and material existence.
Water = Heart/Emotions
Just like earth element represents the physical body, the element of water represents our hearts, our emotional selves. And, as our bodies are unique, so are our emotions. The intensity of our feelings and our responses to our emotions ranges from stoic or cool to wild and furious! How comfortable are you expressing how you feel? How quickly or intensely do you respond to others and their feelings. Are you empathetic, sympathetic or are you protective of your own heart when others cry, laugh, panic or yell?
Are you attracted to someone who reacts quickly intensly to others? Do you want someone who hums when they are happy or cries when the see a romantic comedy? What do you think about people who are stoic, quiet and protective of their emotions? As we begin to recognize our emotional responses, depths and limits, we can learn to recognize how and why we are emotionally reactive and responsive to those around us.
Air = Brain/Intellect
Are you a thinker, a talker? The element air represents the thought which includes communication. For instance, thinking, communicating, learning and reading are aspects of the air element. Can you imagine sitting with someone reading and discussing your thoughts? Is that something that appeals to you? Would you rather sit in silence or chat with someone? Would you rather chat with someone about the weather or the meaning of life, jokes or hard topics, gossip or the news? Thinking and communication are essential to our sense of connection and relationship building.
If you consider your comfort and your interests, you become more aware of what you want and desire in HHIA relationships. Finding someone who shares some to most of these comfort levels and interest is a great leap towards finding comfort, trust and perhaps even love between us.
Fire = Spirit/Passion
Fire is the fourth element. The fire element in some cultures, philosophies and religions is thought of as the “spark of life”, the passion and the creative impulse. This element is unique and can be considered as a range of intensity, expression and experience, as are the other elements earth, water and air. We are all born with our own energy levels, passions and creativity. Some of us race around vigourously with or without focus or productivity. Others can nap all afternoon. Some of us are in constant motion and others rarely move from the bed to the sofa without great effort. This is another of the aspects of our lives and characters which can affect our compatability and comfort in the company of an intimate partner.
Elementally my dear…
In this constellation, earth, water, air & fire, we can find hotspots, waves of emotions, brickwalls and gusts of inspiration. Our reaction to the drops, the heat, the wind and the stones on our path can help us to imagine, empathize, consider and touch those around us with greater understanding and knowledge of them and of ourselves.
On that note, I am going to let go and give you some time with the elements. I look forward to being here again next time with a look at beginning to interact and communicate with potential partners. Questions & Comments More about me