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PARTNERSHIP STRUGGLES? LET’S TALK PASSION!

Let’s DO IT! We’re adults, right? Let’s talk passion and, yes, sex. Contrary to current proper American beliefs, neither are dirty words! Besides, sex has three letters, not four. I consider most dirty, or “bad,” words to have four letters. Words such as hate, cook, and poop (the one that starts with “s” and rhymes with spit) top my “bad” list. Oh, and the “f ” word when used in all the angry and mean ways — that’s a yucky (technical term) four-letter word. I’m not referring to that either.

I’m referring to the kind of passion and sex (and, yes, even the “f ” word) that’s good, positive, and beautiful. The kind that connects and enhances the love between two people. I’m not advocating for or arguing against the tawdry business of the famous Red Light District in “anything goes” Amsterdam. Ditto for common corporate marketing plans – so unoriginal. They use tacky and desensitizing “sex sells” concepts. However, this isn’t about hearts and flowers and unicorns and rainbows either. Those concepts are all so “yesterday,” i.e. dated, unimaginative, and downright ordinary.

Instead, consider sex at its most primal. Sprinkle it with creative passion. Re-commit playfully.

(NOW we’re talkin’!)

BE BRAVE

Consider Esther Perel’s international bestseller. It’s in paperback: Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. She “offers a bold, provocative, new take on intimacy and sex.” She makes her point using man’s often limited ability to communicate his own needs, wants, and desires. She validates how we repeatedly face this confusion in our relationships without understanding why, women included.

One of her many amazing points: “Through sex, men can recapture the pure pleasure of connection without having to compress their hard-to-articulate needs into the prison of words.” Of course, this also goes for women.  We’ve been taught, directly and/or indirectly, that passion, sex, and/or sexuality, are bad, dirty, or only for making babies. Americans are, generally speaking, rather puritanical about this topic. (Maybe this attitude is contributing to high divorce rates in an era of immediate, and even extreme, gratification?)

When we compare notes about the “empty nest” syndrome, faced as our youngest children head to college or get off the parent-payroll, whispered adult conversations turn to taboo themes like “midlife crisis” and “marital abandonment.” Talk about a transitional period in relationships!

Photo by Edward Castro from Pexels

Usually, at this point, marriages break down, the very time when we’ve been given explicit permission to put ourselves on the top of the priority list! Years of dedication to Little League practices and piano recitals, endless homework and harried schedules have been rewarded by a return to life B.C. (Before Children) … only better.  We believe our little darlings will care for us when we’re old and doddering, while we (finally!) get to run around the house naked again and have sex in any room we choose!

HAVE PASSION

We’ve forgotten about that deep yearning we’d felt for our partners. We’ve forgotten what turned us on. We assume our spouses remember and freak out when they don’t. We’ve allowed our relationships, and really ourselves, to slip far down Life’s totem pole (pun intended). We’ve let go of sexual curiosity, sensual longing, and delicious passion we once shared with our now longtime partners. In short, we feel like strangers.

Provocative books and movies stir parental angst instead of adult curiosity. We assume we’re well past those “young, reckless, new love” stages. We’ve “matured” (read: aged), as have our marriages. Aren’t we supposed to speak about our older children or the latest community concerns (a.k.a. gossip)? How dull and mind-numbing!

Friends laugh when I, normally quite private and seemingly proper, so transparently share my absolute glee that sex is no longer for procreation but recreation! A few are always horrified at my unashamed honesty, while most seem relieved that I’ve said what they’ve wanted to: we need to still matter.

The characters in G.A.S.P., the first book in my trilogy (alert: shameless promotion happening), address these midlife transitions and concerns of partnership struggles, absent passion, and conforming (even prudish) sexuality. Does any of this resonate as true for you?

Photo by Ana Paula Lima from Pexels

RECONNECT

I’ve reasoned we unnecessarily age when we neglect our human need for physical contact through intimate touch. In so doing, we’ve neglected deep and meaningful parts of our partners and ourselves. Mrs. Perel’s premise speaks to my heart as well as my naughty playful spirit about sex, passion, and our spouses: “Can we desire what we already have?” I agree with her: YES WE CAN!

So, let’s do more than ignore, or just talk about, sex and passion. Instead of turning away from our spouses, let’s rediscover them. Enjoy what brought us together to begin with, what connected us…if you know what I mean.

 

GRADUATIONS EQUAL TRANSITIONS

Graduations … wow. It’s that time of the year again. No, not Christmas. Not that yet. It’s that time for endings. Curious timing for an ending when you think about it – essentially in the middle of the calendar year. The real issue is less about the ending. It’s more about the transitions both students and their families must process before the start of the next school year.

Most of us remember the heart-palpitating excitement, increasing frenetic energy, and wide-eyed thrill of the final bell ringing out the current school year. We’ve forgotten the impact of those transitions. In spite of how ready we felt for the next phase, a low current of fear coursed through our veins as to what was next.

The fear of the unknown.

For us now as parents, we face a similar but different kind of fear. One not so much about kids, although that does exist, rather more about ourselves. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Graduations

Eighth-grade “promotions” were deemed important to note the imminent start of high school. High school graduations signaled permanently-changed family dynamics. One little darling left the nest, siblings, and the comforts of home. Chores and responsibilities were left to be reshuffled. College graduations are more the mental game for us parents, shocked that our offspring are allegedly prepared to take responsibility to begin the rest of their lives. 

Likely, we are more shocked that we could be old enough to have children going to and/or graduating from college. (We can cover weddings and grandchildren in a future blog. I’m not quite there yet. This educational transition stuff is enough topic for one post!)

I Get You

This year, 2018, my husband and I face several of these blessed events. Our “baby” graduates from high school; our next “angel” graduates from college; and our eldest “brat” marries between winter holidays. My mother has lovingly suggested I take up drinking more Red Red Wine  (original version) … too bad I’m not much of a drinker.

In addition, we’ve put our house on the market to downsize. Talk about change! I’ve run to hide and share this experience with you, all while I finish the second book in that trilogy – yes, finally. (Fear not! Book 3 will not take as long!) … But I digress.

Spending too much time mourning the loss of your little pumpkin? Think you’re woefully inadequate now that they’re gone? Consider something more healing and forward thinking.

In fact, let me empower all parents.

Consider Yourselves

What did you want to be when you grew up? Do you still have “little ones” at home? Do you realize your role will change quickly? Ponder the possibilities. What does your kids’ post-secondary education picture look like for you? Determine what steps (if any) you need to take now to begin this major life transition. If you’re an empty nester and hadn’t considered a vocation beyond chief family cook and bottle washer, NOW is the time! If you’ve been petrified about this day for years but chiseling away at preparations, NOW is the time to take the next step!

Be like the amazing children you’ve raised: graduate. Transition. NOW is the time!

P. S. The above-mentioned transitions delayed this blog’s updates. My plan is to show up about once a month now. Of course, after I Cry Me A River (original version) and mourn at least one day (but not more than two) that my role as a parent has changed now … forever.

THANKSGIVING CONJURES ABUNDANCE

Thanksgiving abundance conjures up a myriad of images, doesn’t it? For some of us, it’s tons of family and friends gathered around a large table, spirited beverages flowing and boundless food laid out. For many, it’s quite the opposite. They’re alone, maybe homeless. Perhaps it’s even one of service to others. Everyone has his/her own take, own varied traditions.

What ever Thanksgiving means to and/or for you, the most valuable interpretation is the one that causes each of us to stop and appreciate the abundance in our lives. Maybe your wealth has manifested itself in terms of money, friends, opportunities, or simply peace and time to just think — a commodity often rare in these times of instant gratification, ever-changing technology, and over-scheduling. It may also have revealed itself as constant change and challenge. Again, how each is viewed determines its manifestation.

thanksgiving-corn-image

Have you been struggling to appreciate transitions, hardships, and challenges? You’re not alone. Who doesn’t at times? After all, why would any of us be thankful for problems? Aren’t there enough of them in the world?

Consider this: “Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light.” Author Dan Brown wrote in his novel The Lost Symbol. He also said, “The decisions of our past are the architects of our present.” What does that mean?

It means in the shadows, or even the dark, issues may appear unfathomably huge. Yet, from a different vantage point, whether the change of companions, conversation, physical stance, or even different time of day, a new perspective, or light, can brighten and shrink those same issues down to more manageable sizes. Why not see everything, even gut-wrenching, tear-staining, mind-blowing anguish as an opportunity for growth?!

Since we’re talking about Thanksgiving, ponder the plight of the pilgrims in a strange new world; and, while at it, ponder the plight of the Native American Indians as their world was invaded by these strangers. Did they experience some hardships!

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Because we’re referencing hard and difficult, do you like sparkly or valuable things, like diamonds? Know what? It takes tremendous adversity, pressure, and time to make them, too!

 

ABUNDANCE ACTION STEPS

So when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, follow a few steps:

  • Breathe (contrary to popular belief, this is necessary).
  • Turn on some light, or stand up, or sleep on it.
  • See the abundance of opportunity (perspective change!).
  • Breathe again and “get after it!” (In the words of beloved high school football, girls’ soccer coach, and science teacher Scot Bemis, when he encouraged his teams and classes to keep practicing, keep fighting, keep reaching.)

This is truly appreciating the abundance and spirit of Thanksgiving every day.

LESSON: DOG IS GOD SPELLED BACKWARDS

I love my dogs. Truth be told, I love animals. Dogs of all sizes and breeds, crazy and sane cats, skittish deer, quirky quail, freaky fish, lions and tigers and bears! OH MY! Remember my blog last week talking about relationships and how life is all about them? Besides love for our fellow human, name another relationship that teaches humans more lessons about themselves and each other?

Lemme explain.

398 MINUTES

So, it’ll come as little surprise that I was actually off kilter today upon my return home. After dropping off my two fuzzy kids at the vet’s for a dental procedure, I felt weird and lost entering my silent house. No tails wagged. No whiskers twitched. No furry lips turned up in smiles. I hadn’t anticipated feeling this way. After all, they were only going to be gone for a few hours.

Hours? HA! I counted the minutes. I counted all 398 of them, until they were back in my car heading home with me. I had such trouble focusing on writing, editing, whatever tasks required more than 76 seconds of concentration. Seriously! You’d think they were gone forever. Understand, I’ve been through that, too. The loss of a pet furry family member is brutal when there’s been an attachment. Anyone who’s cared for, fed, tended to, and, of course, loved a critter gets this. Am I wrong?

pets pic

GUARDIANS

My pooches through the years have always been my guardian angels. They’re my constant writing companions, doorbell alert signalers, and faithful protectors of my family and me. They are loyal … most of the time (except when my mom and sister visit. “I’m here to spoil my four-legged niece/nephew/grandchild,” they quip — we don’t see those two fleabags until they’re pouting that those favorite humans left); lick my cried tears; and put each of our kids to bed nightly. The lessons of kindness, faithfulness, and love are unconditional, generous, and consistent. Easily their unsurpassed adoration alone is cause to weep at their absence. Who loves you like that in your life?

LESSON

An invaluable, though painful, lesson for all of us to learn is one of loss. Sadly, because our time on earth is limited, we all experience it. Dogs teach us how to grieve and cope with loss. In the famous words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, “’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”   http://knowledgenuts.com/2014/02/05/tennyson-wrote-tis-better-to-have-loved-and-lost-about-a-man/

I grew up with three hunting dogs, two stray cats, and a salt-water tank of tropical fish. Birth and death happened often. Mom always held our hands and allowed us to grieve and eulogize; Dad helped with the burials. Still, the joy of healing broken hearts by rescuing another fluff-ball in need never eliminated the beloved memory of a lost friend. It merely softened the hurt.

Finally, as my own children grow up, move out, and care for their own fuzzy confidantes, I bask in their bonds and know they witness God in their own fashion daily. How else would we know how to raise us mere mortals? Ain’t it grand that lessons come in so many forms! Remember: dog spelled backwards is God after all.

P.S. Thanks to unisci24.com for pic.

LIFE IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

Life is all about relationships. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about babes or boys; beasts or broccoli; Broadway or baseball. How we relate or connect with our world as a whole is up to us. The real trick, sometimes, is to follow our kids’ leads.

“Malarkey! Sometimes things, kids, LIFE happens, and we simply have to react.”  Sure, it’s still up to each of us every day to choose how we react. Then determine if that reaction yields a positive or negative relationship. Let me show you what I mean.

KATIE, MICHAEL & USAIN

Recently Katie Ledecky, teenager and highly decorated U.S. swimmer, spoke of her Rio Olympic experience after a race. “I’ve just had a lot of fun this week not only in the pool but … with my teammates. The memories mean more than the medals to me here. I’m just so proud of my teammates and what we all have accomplished…” She embraced the entire exhilarating relationship (with her teammates as well as the competition) the same way she’s dominated her events since she was six years old: with youthful enthusiasm. It’s infectious, wouldn’t you agree?

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete ever, said in interviews that Coach Bob Bowman is “a father figure to me … He’s helped me through some of the worst times in my life, and he’s been there every step of the way and I’m forever thankful.” Their relationship, while often called complicated, has worked. What “parent/child” relationship hasn’t been complicated?

Then there’s the relationship between Usain Bolt and his mom. For all his showmanship, he’s still human, still gets nervous. His mom’s shared the best way to calm her son is for her to be calm initially and to use humor. How’s THAT for relating to the fastest human ever recorded on earth?

 

ASPARAGUS, BROCCOLI & BRUSSEL SPROUTS

Allergies, bad childhood experiences and peer pressure all influence relationships. Using food as an example, though people can be substituted, too, we make choices to eat our veggies based on so many factors. Certain choices connect us, while others segregate us. Just like children, we may initially not care for one flavor, try it again weeks, even years down the road, and find we’ve changed our minds. Funny how relationships may evolve, isn’t it?

broccoli brussel sprouts asparagus

 

 

 

BASEBALL, OPERA & TECHNOLOGY

Whether you watch sports, prefer the arts or play video games, your relationship with any activities exemplifies how you connect or escape, relax or process, love or reject in your life. Kids’ (and adults’) games show us, again, all about relationships.

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Follow the leads of our children of all ages; choose to embrace (instead of blame) relationships on all levels; and something shocking happens. We focus more on using our energies for the betterment of all, because, even if selfish, we know we benefit.

So logically, since we’re all in relationship with each other, why not consider what we expect from our children at school? More peace than war and more love than hate for our shared planet. Imagine how we can affect our global relationships! Aren’t relationships fascinating when you’re open to learning from them. https://www.creativereview.co.uk/the-story-behind-make-love-not-war/