Monthly Archives: January 2016

Animal Spirit Guides

Over two years ago, after moving to New Hampshire, a shaman and I sat down for the purposes of discovering my animal spirit guide.

During our session, we meditated.  The shaman told me “badger,” the same animal that I felt during our meditation.

Now, I wasn’t aware that there was this internet frenzy about badgers.  In fact, I only discovered “Badger Don’t Care” this past week, which is what inspired this entry.

Who on earth wants a badger for a spirit animal?  I was thinking certainly a horse, because of experiences I’ve previously written about here.

Yes, a big, beautiful black stallion, wild and free, running on the beach with its mane blowing back, strong legs galloping in the sand, salt water splashing around it, images of Scorsese’s Black Stallion in cinematic poetry running through my mind.

What’s up with a badger?  Isn’t that a rodent?

Not impressed.

Several days after the shaman sit down, I was out on the roads in the backwoods, listening to an animal spirit meditation invocation, thinking that I’d get the real deal, the shaman was wrong, and I had simply picked up her subconscious energies.  Sure enough, there in my mind  I heard and saw “BADGER.”  It was an impression that was as clear as a tolling bell.

Yet I had zero knowledge of badgers, and didn’t really care.  (Allusion intended.)

Enough woo woo, I thought.  That’s crazy and not what I want to hear.

Then this past week, as I checked into Facebook during a writing break, I accidentally discovered that the badger is a singularly extraordinary animal.

The honey badger is the most fearless animal on the planet according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and it’s fearlessness is exceeded only by its intelligence.

It’s a small animal, yet its attitude alone allows it take on lions, king cobras, and any other creature, sometimes more than one at a time.  Very few animals mess with the badger, because it just won’t give up.  More work than its worth, for despite its small size, its a formidable adversary.

It’s only weakness is that it is too fearless, and gets itself into trouble.

Okay.  I am now listening.  Badger has my attention.

This is from the Animal Symbolism site:

“According to Native Americans, the sighting of badger tracks was very auspicious. Seeing badger tracks was a message that all things are possible when we tap into our inner creative powers.

The badger stops at nothing to get what it wants, and this is a lesson for us to be persistent in our pursuits. Specifically, those with the badger totem often attract this creature because he/she has difficulty finishing what is started. The badger will help with this aspect in life. You can call upon the stubborn, strong-willed nature of the badger to help you complete any project you start.

The badger is also fiercely independent and is quite aggressive when threatened.  This is a lesson for us to stand our ground and make our presence known when the situation calls for it. Although smaller in stature, the badger commands attention from friend and foe alike. We can do the same, but we must be mindful that we do so in a healthy, constructive manner.

The badger’s associated with:

  • Determination
  • Eagerness
  • Strong will
  • Focus
  • Strategy
  • Tenacity
  • Defense
  • Protection
  • Independence
  • Confidence

When the badger comes into our lives it is time for get busy with projects, speak up and ask for help if we need it in our lives. The badger is also a sign that it is time for us come out of hiding – it’s time for us to let the world know we are here, and we mean business!

Lastly, the symbolism of the badger also includes individuality. The badger is a unique creature, well equipped to meet all the challenges it faces. It lives its life quite effectively. And although its methods might seem unorthodox, the badger doesn’t care what the rest of the animal kingdom thinks about them. This is perhaps the greatest lesson the badger imparts to us. In short, the badger tell us to “walk your own path at your own pace.” Nevermind what others may say. Have faith in your own abilities and know that you are well-equipped to take on whatever challenge faces you.”

The badger is more than appropriate to my story — and I found it interesting that badgers can be bitten by the planet’s most lethal snakes, and unlike most animals, survive.  They simply sleep off the venom for awhile, and then get up and start all over again.

Badger’s been with me my entire life!

If you are inclined to discover your animal spirit guide, I encourage you to follow your inclination.  You don’t need a shaman.  Just some quiet and the intent to connect.  There are many guided meditations on-line or for download.  The most difficult issue is trusting the animal you receive. It may not be the animal you think, but when you’re ready, as I was, to take its message and make it yours, it will present itself for your help.  These things sound woo woo to our modern sensibilities, but I believe they carry ancient wisdom, buried in our bones and our connection to the earth.  If you doubt their mystical veracity, well at least they offer a great psychological tool in your life arsenal to carry with you, to use as you need and will, for all its worth.

Written as one with badger by her side.

 

 

 

 

 

There have been several long entries the past few days, but I felt all of them important.

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Self-Determination And Consciousness

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.  —  Alice Walker

 

My last post garnered interesting feedback.

A literature professor and writer thought it the best articulation of my work to date, and suggested I submit for publication.  I revised it and did, but I have no expectations the final revision sans the f-bombs will make it beyond this blog.

A female friend called me yesterday, and told me that it deeply resonated with her.  “All women are sex workers in one way or another,” she said.   Women go through various degrees of objectification and navigating sexual politics in life and the world, the institutional stuff that protocols can’t address.  A recently published study discovered that women who are considered pretty make better grades than those who considered less attractive, no matter their academic achievements.   Women who are considered pretty also make more money.  The list goes on and on.  (Attractiveness is also a marker for men and pay, but men have other compensatory advantages to bring with them.  The attractiveness marker for women is a much louder and more strident note.)

In hashing out these two conversations this morning, with another friend, he said: “guys are always looking at a woman and thinking about fucking her, not fucking her, what she looks like, while the woman is trying to be professional.  It’s not fair, and it’s tough.”  This, from a former CEO of a publicly listed company.  While this reveals a great deal about him, it illustrates how the world works too often.

No this is not man bashing day.  No, I don’t reduce the world to the evil men with penises versus the sainted women.  There’s plenty of blame to go around, and I like to think of myself as much more even handed than that.

Man bashing and female victimization aren’t where I live, for I am self-determined.

If I focus on the statistics and the studies, I am letting something out there grab my power from me.

The out there doesn’t define me: my inner life and evolving Consciousness do.

My faith is in a Greater Power, not statistics.

On that journey, guess what, I am allowed to vent on my blog, in a way that I find helps me during a tough work week.

We all have them.

And in writing a rant, I might actually hit gold.

But this post is generated from the entirely unpleasant and unwelcome “feedback” I received from a friend, who felt that my rant had given him license to rant about several things — this after admitting he didn’t read my post that carefully.  (So why bother responding?  If you haven’t bothered reading, what is the game, here?)

We had an email back and forth, none of which I found pleasant, because I sincerely believe it had less to do with me than him.

I learned a couple of things from that back and forth, as I move forward in my writing career:  1) someone won’t read your stuff, and then offer over 2,000 words on why it sucked, instead of dealing with the substance, or even asking a question or two about what something meant in the rant’s center.  Asking questions is good; 2) good intentions need to be honored, respected, and treasured for their intentions, but they are simply “good intentions” and the road to hell is paved with them; 3)  everyone’s at a different level of their psycho-spiritual development, sex work triggers a whole lot of responses, and especially on this particular topic, best to offer some objective insights and scholarly opinions, then let the rest fall.

I value my peace, and sometimes that means letting off some steam, and letting go.  And that’s okay, because I’m human.

Some of what I’ve discovered about myself since that back and forth, which may not have been palpable in the rant, was that I am completely okay with this work and my clients.  Shame is no longer part of my life story, I own myself, my inherent dignity, and my self-love.  This position having been hard won: nothing outside of myself defines me.   My dignity and strength and purpose come from my spiritual center.

My story is that I am a writer, and the sex work has been an important part of my life story, which, as a writer I will not bury.  Nor do I think anyone should have to bury any part of their story because the world tells them it’s shameful.

This other stuff is just work.  That’s it.  And that was the point.  A tough work week.  No etiquette rule books.  I get to rant.  It’s my blog.  And from the other feedback I received, it spoke to folks.

I realized, too, after this back and forth, that other women may be victimized by their experiences. There are a couple of feminists that go on and on about female victimization in sex work, and I now understand they have a right to that.  I don’t think it serves them well, or other women.  And it’s not a story I choose, because it’s too crippling, and interferes with bigger life projects.  But I cannot deny them their feelings or experiences, that’s not my place.

So let’s be clear about that last entry, in case my self-described rant was poorly executed:

I have an amazing life.  I am a service provider in an industry where there are no rule books, and there’s a whole lot of mystification about what goes on.  I have been doing this long enough to have some wonderful clients and supportive relationships anchored in mutual trust, but it doesn’t mean that it is easy work, or that some men don’t need to have boundaries drawn, given the nature of the business.  This is business in which boundaries are blurred for many reasons, and there are no rule books for how to treat workers.

I make more money than working retail, babysitting, or housecleaning.  I have great flexibility to do as I like.

But make no mistake, this is tough work.  And I have a right to express that on my blog.  And in that revelation, as my girlfriend told me, “you said what needs to said” in other words, the post touched on things that many women feel just moving through the world.

The deeper reality is this, and what the first parts of that rant implied but didn’t express: moving beyond  ourselves as bodies to an understanding of our Divinity, our sacred selves.  As long as we see the world as bodies, work labels, gender labels, educational credentials, income labels, race labels, we are missing the point.  The point is we are Consciousness unfolding, the universe knowing itself, and respecting the path of all people (and creatures) and granting them their inherent dignity.

This is the fundamental truth that underlies all the other narratives, and why I am completely okay with what supports me at this place in time.

Everything changes.  Quickly.  Nothing is forever.

Living in my peace doesn’t mean it’s not difficult work, and doesn’t mean I won’t have a self-indulgent meltdown.

I am entitled.

If you can’t deal with it, then please don’t contact me if the only time you’ve bothered to read (or not read) my writing and respond is when I am ranting about sex work.  That gesture speaks volumes.  I have written poetry, written on gardening, written on love and meditation.  Written on life.

Yeah, no response to gardening.  No response to a hike in a hills.  But a rant on sex work, lettur rip with the opinions.

Not once did I hear from my friend about how beautifully I express my love for another, my love for the Divine, or how much they enjoyed my flower pictures and gardening entries.  No, what I get is a crappy email about how they can’t bother reading the entry carefully, but I need to get out of this business, because I’ve become a shrill bitch who can only go on about “the patriarchy, the patriarchy, the patriarchy,” and I need to come back in a thousand years as another species.

So yes, I learned a great deal, thank you

Moving forward, I know that a good audience depends on allowing people the room and space to speak their peace and explore their feelings on a given day, without running in and jumping all over them with unsolicited advice, without a seeming whit about who I have presented myself in these entries.

Unsolicited advice, that’s a hard nut to crack.  But when you’re in love with yourself, you worry less about trying to fix other people.

And I give my friend that failure.  Because life is short and precious, best that we all just embrace our preciousness and the moment while we have it — and let the rest fall.

If you read my previous entry, I thank you.  And I hope this has clarified anything that my rant’s noise may have obscured.

Not because I lack confidence, but because I have both confidence and clarity.

Peace.

 

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Burnout, And A Rant

My last post was on radical self-love, and it was an important statement.  The following post is not so glowing, so if you’re not in the mood for a rant, you may hit the delete button now, and we’ll be good.

I am conflicted about posting this, but life is an experiment, so here goes.

The past months I’ve been going through extreme work burn-out.

It’s not the perversity of sex-work that runs rough shod over the psyche, it’s the banality of it.

Banal.  In the extreme.  Nails on chalkboard banality.  The same questions, the same narratives, the same notes, the reaching for an experience that there can only be one outcome for, while expecting an epiphany.

Getting to “Oh God,” through a single, redundant channel.

I’ve often likened sex work to fundamentalism in these entries: they are two sides of the same coin.  A flattening of experience, a single note played over and over and over and over.  The yearning never satisfied, because the notes played are the wrong ones, and the song of life never emerges.

In the case of religion, it’s the note of obedience, a big bad God and the Incarnate Son and a bunch of politicized beliefs granted cultural authority; in the case of sexuality, its the drone of plastic T & A narratives full of repressed personal longings and histories.

The first speaks to a lack of spiritual intimacy; the latter to a lack of personal intimacy, and I’m not talking about simply “not getting any,” I’m talking about a lack of intimacy with one’s Self that would open up one’s spiritual, emotional life, one’s relationship to the other in dynamic ways.

It’s no wonder that in a culture being pulled by fundamentalism’s political patriarchy and reductionist narratives about God, guns, and girls, we’ve got the worst case of porn addiction and sexual exploitation narratives on the planet.

It’s all more complicated than this, but I’ll leave it to the scholars to pull out lint from their navels during “conferences,” where they bandy in polysyllables about the horrors of it all.

(Thankfully, there’s Martha Nussbaum actually gets it right, and writes in comprehensible prose and not in self-congratulatory post-modern difficulties, or in those strident diatribes characterizing the anti-porn rhetoric.)

So here’s the rant, well, the continuation of it:

The majority of so-called feminists in my feed simply don’t get it.  I am tired of celebrity memes about “Feminism” on social media by women who have never done care-taking work, which is what most women’s work is.  Babysitting, housecleaning. live in nannies, sex work.

Sex work is the invisible servant class of the patriarchy, and the fucking issue isn’t morality, it’s the money and the power, the ability to self-define when one wants to be mobile in a so-called culture of freedom.

Bullshit.  The number of women who have engaged in sex work is astronomical, but these narratives remain hidden under our crinoline skirts of respectability (Toni Morrison, Nobel lecture), and most women bury their stories under these skirts.

“Coming out” isn’t only about gay men (who seem in my mind to control this narrative in its public forms, because they are men), it’s about the social control of women, and the economics of that.

Sex workers cannot put their work experience on a job application, resumé, let alone a CV.

The burnout of this work is extraordinary, and it’s social limitations unnecessary and burdensome.  One reason I am ranting here is that I let loose on two clients and a friend this past week.  The first was unprofessional, and probably not in my economic best interest.  The second unnecessarily burdened a friendship built on tenderness and safety.  Not me at my best, despite his generosity.

And here’s the other rant, which I’d love to direct to a handful of clients, but most clients can’t handle the truth, for they are buying a fantasy, and completely invested in that fantasy:

No, I am not your girlfriend.

No, I am not going to pleasure myself, for your benefit, and I am not “denying” you anything, and you need to get a grip.

No, your fantasies are not my fantasies, no matter how much you want it to be good for me too.  This is a job, I am a service provider.

No, I don’t want half-a-dozen emails from you during the week while you’re sitting at the office in your office job and fantasizing about our last conversation, while the women in your office are probably picking up the details.

No, you do not pay me enough.

No, you are not as clever as you think, because if you had a whit of self-determination, you’d know that any and all service workers deserve to be tipped.  Because there is no rule-book, you don’t have the foggiest idea that I am responsible for my taxes, including self-employment tax, business expenses, and the like, and any extra money is always appreciated.  But since you are doing this on the sly, you are always bartering for the cheapest way to get your rocks off.

No, I am not sitting here waiting for you to call, fantasizing about you.

No, I do not reduce you to a one dimensional creature as you do me, which is the only reason I can make this thing work on a human level, despite you and your psycho-sexual myopia.

Yes, I am grateful that I’ve been privileged to get a great education because of my work.

Yes, I am grateful that you trust me with your needs.

Yes, I am grateful that I have a job where I may work in my home.

Yes, I am grateful that you bring the best you can, with where you are at, in a world riddled with false narratives that we are all working through.

Yes, I will always be the best I can be for your needs, no matter how banal, because I will be the best I can be for myself.

Yes, I love myself, deeply.

Yes, I wish you could do the same, and wake the fuck up from your delusions.

 

End of rant.  I don’t pretend there is logical cohesion to this, and I am certain most of this is politically inappropriate.  What I’ve discovered, however, is that many of my visceral responses are often tethered to realities that have yet to be unpacked by those in the mainstream.

Therefore, I’m simply call this a self-indulgent rant.

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Radical Self-Love

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.

More often than not, they lack passion and vision and try to fix something on the surface level, seen in how quickly “resolutions” end by the psychological roadside, as we run off to the next diversion.

I do believe, however, in using the New Year as a way of looking at the previous calendar year, with all its arbitrary boundary designations, “day, week, month,” taking assessment of what was and what might be, and setting a theme for the year.

I decided to devote this year to radical self-love, in thought, word, and deed.

This is on my vision board, and for those who read these sporadic entries, you know that self-love has been a life challenge.

Shame in many, many forms being a defining life circumstance, and moving the lens from the “out-there” where shame begins, what other people think, to the inside, where self-love begins and is nurtured.

The gift of shame is the privilege of moving into radical self-love, not just any old series of platitudes and ceremonious gestures that may make me feel better.

Radical self-love, a huge shift in every thought, word, and deed I express, and it means growing in ways that still remain elusive.

I don’t want any old domestic circumstance, I want the love affair of a life time.

That love affair begins with me.

As I meditated this morning, something nudged me to look at my vision board, and I saw the new year’s affirmation there in big bold letters: RADICAL SELF-LOVE: THOUGHT, WORD, AND ACTION.

Now, what I knew when I pinned that saying to the board was that it’s a phrase, an idea that hasn’t been unpacked.  What does radical self-love really mean, beyond the idea?  Even love is a problematic term, so where and how can I begin understanding this year’s governing aspiration?

I believe I received a snippet this morning.  As I looked at the phrase, it occurred to me that it means not worrying about getting anywhere, that is, once again, the idea of being Present.  Present, in the moment.  Completely and fully.

It’s the journey, not the destination.  Love is the journey.  Radical self-love is the unfolding moment, not something that’s going to happen by the year’s end.

It’s this entry, these words, the workout this morning, the business calls this afternoon, the writing later on, the kickboxing class in the evening, the encounters with friends who make my life meaningful and beautiful.

It’s showing up in the moment, fully invested in who I am, and giving life my everything, with less diversion, fewer bad stories, and much more engagement than I believed possible.  That’s getting close to radical self-love.

I’ve written on this many times, but as one goes down the road, it unfolds with greater depth and clarity.

Do what you do with Presence, because when you are fully there, you are radically loving yourself.

Presence dissolves the subject-object divide that tells us we must do more, be more, and must meet those goals if our contribution will matter, one of the biggest self-loathing myths present in our collective consciousness.

Presence is the deepest connection to Self imaginable, our deepest expression lived in absolute surrender: the mind still, the spirit free, and life becomes what some have called the Kingdom of Heaven.

The first week after I devoted this calendar year to radical self-love, I saw something extraordinary, and it keeps coming to me in ways that echo before things I’ve written here: “you’re making it [life and its many aspirations] way more difficult than it needs to be.”

Or, put in a more self-loving way: the life we envision for ourselves is easier than we allow ourselves to believe, because it’s unfolding in front of our eyes, if we are Present and engaged with life, in the moment.

I hope 2016 unfolds with easy grace and clarity.

Peace and abundant love and health to you.

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