Managing Love and Sex While Isolated

In this post, I talk about love and sexual energy with a single woman in quarantine living in Madrid, one of the friendliest cities in the world now raging with the Corona virus.

Screen Shot 2020-03-28 at 12.11.20 PMSexual energy is an essential life force concentrated in two energy centers in our body, the Root Chakra and the Sacral Chakra. The root chakra is located in the base of the spine and it relates to our feelings about survival, security and stability. The sacral chakra located in our lower belly, relates to pleasure, emotions, intimacy and trust. Love and sex are influenced by a biological impulse to procreate plus our emotional need for intimacy. For this reason, managing love and sexual energy can be challenging when we are fearful and isolated.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how people are managing love relationships and sexual energy during the Corona virus crisis. If you’re married or in a live-in relationship, being forced to spend time together can be an opportunity or agony, depending on the nature of the relationship. If you’re single and living alone, coping with built up sexual energy and love relationships can be daunting. I wonder if it’s possible to transmute sexual energy into a higher chakra, for a deeper kind of love, a compassion for others or to enhance creativity or spirituality?

Ongoing obstruction or imbalance rooted in the sacral chakra can lead to problems such as addiction, perversion, depression or destructive behavior. For this reason, exploring our feelings about love and sex is vital to our overall well-being and sustainability.

This week, I interviewed a single woman living alone in Madrid to explore this topic.

What is the hardest thing about dealing with the Corona virus crisis while being single and female living in Madrid?

The hardest thing about dealing with the Corona virus while being single and female is that in Spain we are confined completely, everything is controlled. All social relationships have been drastically reduced, we are not able to go out at all, meet people in bars, be on the street even.

How did you socialize and meet men before the quarantine?

I’m very outgoing so it’s always been quite easy for me to get to know new people. I’ve met people while having a cup of coffee or while shopping. I’ve met people in unexpected places. I love dancing so that’s one way I meet people— at dance clubs. I’ve always felt confident about my physical appearance and being able to attract men but now in isolation, I find myself reflecting on my life and being single. I’ve also been thinking about my spiritual self more, rather than sex. I’m asking myself hard questions about what matters most to me in a man and I wonder is it possible to have it all? I mean, is it really possible to have sexual attraction and also be compatible spiritually and emotionally? I’m thinking I want the whole package.

Do you have a romantic interest currently? How are you managing this relationship?

I have a romantic interest and it’s not been easy because it’s just wishful thinking at the moment. There is nothing established between the two of us, we have had only a platonic relationship. We know each other through work and now in isolation, we keep in communication which helps me feel alive. Even before the crisis, I thought about him all the time. I don’t think I’m managing this isolation very well. I get anxious. I want to hug this man or just have a cup of coffee with him. I want to be with him face to face so we can look at each other and get lost in that moment. This is my heart’s desire. We have joked about sneaking out to be together. I believe we love each other although it’s not been declared. The more I get to know him, I think he has all the perfect ingredients. I feel passion and spiritual connection and now in isolation, I spend a lot of time imagining myself being intimate with him. These thoughts keep me hopeful for the future.

How has your style of communication changed?

I’d say I’m more intense. Some old loves, men I’ve had affairs with in the past, have suddenly reached out to me during the crisis and I find this interesting. I think we are being drawn to people to figure out what matters. I find I am more dependent on WhatsApp than before, and desperately waiting for this man who I am in love to respond. That can feel frantic.

How are you coping with your sexual energy?

At the moment, my sexual energy is off. Even though it’s spring, I don’t feel sexual desire, which is strange. I find myself channeling my sexual desire into thinking about real love, sincere and genuine love.  Like I said, I’ve been thinking about this one man. In my soul I feel he knows how I feel and I think he feels the same. For now, this feeling is strong enough and sufficient because we’re stuck in quarantine. I believe that in time, when this is over, there will be a sexual explosion in my life. As a single woman, living alone, there is no expectation for a physical relationship now, although when an old flame wrote to me, I felt the temptation to see him. I even agreed to meet with him at the supermarket, but then realized that it was too risky. He showed up at the entrance of my building and I looked out my balcony and saw him. Although it was flattering, I felt like I was disloyal to the man I am in love with.

What lessons are you learning during this crisis?

I want to make sure I live a life worth living. I want to be respectful of everything…respectful of people and the atmosphere. More importantly, now I know who really cares about me and who I want to keep in my life. I want to value these relationships and live in the present moment. I want to live even more intensely than before! When it comes to love and sex, I’m learning that it’s okay to cross barriers that may seem insurmountable for love.

 

If you’re wondering what mindfulness is really about

Mindfulness is really about love. Love and creativity. I know these are foolish, simple words these days, but sometimes it’s that worn out picture book in the library that speaks truth… generation after generation.

When we choose the practice of mindfulness coupled with a daily, contemplative discipline like meditation, we are cultivating our capacity to love. Mindfulness is love in action, so to speak. Learning to love yourself and love others. It is really very simple.

The three essential components of mindfulness are Time, Space and Energy. Mindfulness education is about learning the function and interrelationship between each of these three alchemies.

Time. When we give anything in life a regular dose of sanctioned time, we communicate value, concern, and care. We spend time with those we love, we spend time with our life’s work. The amount of time we give or receive radically transforms our perspective. Over time we grow old and wise. When we are present, time is eternity.

Space. When we provide ample space for something unknown to exist, we are opening the door of possibility. When we are full or constrained whether it be physically or in thought, there is no room for novelty and expansion. When we declutter the space, starting with our mind, we are inviting the whole world in.

Energy. Life requires energy. We learn to metabolize energy wisely in order to survive. Choosing a natural source of energy is best, because it doesn’t cause harm to yourself, others or the planet. Through sustained focus and understanding the field of energy that connects us to the earth and each other, we increase our life potential.

Mindfulness is about putting our best nature to work for us. It’s a very fair and equitable practice because we are all equipped with the tools we need. In teaching and learning, we can give the gift of time to our students. We can create space and novelty by doing right brain activities. We can help children become aware of energy and point out how we can communicate with each other without speaking.

We don’t often hear that we are learning how to put love into action when we practice mindfulness. We’ve been socialized to believe that love is too subjective and non-academic. Do we really need love to teach? Do we need love to succeed? Yet, when we really think about it, love is central to every exceptional school and every exceptional family. We learn how to love ourselves and take care of our bodies, we  learn how to interact with others with respect and compassion, we work together to keep our environment safe, healthy and happy.

When a teacher says “I love my students,” what is she saying exactly? Do we question her integrity? Do we think she is lacking? Perhaps we wonder if so much love has made her biased and we question if she can assess her students’ performance accurately. These are all important questions.

Mindfulness can be a self serving, egotistical practice if we get too absorbed in it. It is possible to lose clarity and balance, like when we are infatuated. This is part of the human condition and the universe is very clever! So, yes, we must be careful and vigilant about mindfulness. We need to question what we are doing and ask if our actions demonstrate love in action. We must remain innocent and open.

Making a commitment to a guided contemplative practice such as meditation can help.  When we engage in silent reflection regularly we allow our mindfulness practice to evolve and grow with deeper awareness. It is also a good idea to share your experience with others so that you can see the world as one whole. Sometimes we need each other to see and understand our surroundings more clearly.

Mindfulness is about love and creativity. It really is that simple. Sometimes foolish, simple words are all we need.

love

 

 

 

Looking Through the Cracks: Fighting Ignorance with Mindfulness & Critical Consciousness

Mindfulness is a constant unfolding that gives us new sight, called insight. It moves from the inside out, unfolding outward like the petals of a lotus. It is a way to see out, from the inside cracks of ordinary life.

Solomon, Emmonds and Paolini wrote a picture book called, Through the Cracks. It is about what is wrong with schools and society that makes kids get smaller and smaller until they slip through the cracks in the floor. This is a good metaphor for us to consider when thinking about the practice of mindfulness as a lever for advocacy; a pathway for us to lead the way for a holistic schooling model that is inclusive, creative and uplifting.

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We need to see clearly what is happening to students in schools and society. If we examine from the outside and think we can understand what is happening, we are misguided. We have to train our mind and our eyes to see differently, to move from our inner world to the outer world, to look through the tiny cracks in ourselves, to understand how all human beings can feel isolated and afraid, unworthy and confused, a real lack of purpose in the world. We have to change our perspective in order to understand that an individual is not solely responsible but rather, there are conditions in the environment that make people shrink.

When we first go into teaching we are creative and giving. Some of us are in love with our subject matter a little more than working with children, but we are in love all the same, and that is what matters, that we teach from this starting point, creativity and love. 50% of the teachers drop out of the teaching profession within the first 5 years. Why is this happening? Because they fall out of love with teaching. All awareness of what is wrong with our schools and what is wrong in society starts with an understanding of the self. We have to identify the how, when and where we have been separated from our passion, from our heart. I fell through the cracks a long time ago when the practice of education began to feel oppressive and boring. It lost its creativity and giving nature. I was forced to conform to what others wanted me to be. When I felt unseen, and not worthy, I fell through the cracks.

Mindfulness is raising awareness of your inner world, your inner dilemmas. This is entry to consciousness. This is the inner most layer, the foundation. Then, as you move along in the practice, your awareness unfolds and you can move towards critical consciousness. Critical consciousness is going beyond and recognizing how social, political and cultural factors influence your sight and receptivity, your thoughts, your feelings of worthiness and social standing in the world. It is about realizing that your state of mind and well-being are directly related to the state of mind and well-being of everybody around you. This in interdependence, integrative consciousness and systems thinking.

Mindfulness and critical consciousness are a choice because as I stated earlier, they are born out of continuous action, the discipline of slowing things down so that you can browse inside your mind and familiarize yourself with existence; to pick up on the fine details, the elements that have come together to create your story and context. When we allow ourselves to move on and on without reflection, we are mindless actors performing. We are not seeing the features and contours of our behavior, the impact of the scenery on experience. In essence, we are in a state of ignorance. Picture1Ignorance means to ignore. When we are not mindful, we are ignoring insight and knowledge of the world and the people inside it. That is why awareness and critical consciousness is a daily choice and active discipline. It starts with the self, looking inward, and expands to the outer world. It is constantly changing and adapting the image of yourself and the world.

Many teachers, especially those who work in schools and societies that are not healthy, distressed or malfunctioning, walk around in ignorance, ignoring the truth of the situation. It is awareness and critical consciousness that allow us to see clearly the cracks in the floor where children sink, that which causes us tremendous pain and discomfort so we want to ignore it. When we open our eyes wide, we may say, I would never send my child to this school, this harsh institution where lunch is served at 9:30am, kids are silenced, classrooms are housed in trailers or there is no library or gymnasium. We begin to attribute the conditions of the place, the negativity and the disruptions to something outside ourselves, something far away and foreign. If we opened our eyes and our heart fully to the conditions of our work, the conditions of our students’ lives, we may not want to stay and do the job at all. Who wants to live in such misery? We focus on pay at first, but money will never be enough in these situations.

So we suffer. We realize more and more that we can’t separate ourselves from them, from it, from the place. When children lack joy and creativity, when they are fearful for their lives, when our students fall through the cracks, piece by piece, our own humanity dies. We feel like failures inside, because we are those children. We go home at night and wonder— why can’t we do something differently to remedy the situation? The next day we try again. We are not trying to save the children, as some may say. We are trying to save our own sanity. Adults are falling through the cracks every day. Teachers especially. When thousands of teachers across the country are on the streets protesting, they are not blind walking. They are fighting for sanity. It is not just money they want, although this is important to our survival. They are fighting for the end of suffering. Money is the distraction. We know this because we love children for free.

Mindfulness that has led to critical consciousness is a lever for conscious action and justice in education. It is about asking the hard question, what do we do now? When we say, this is real, this is happening, even though it hurts, we keep our eyes open and we begin to dig deep into the cracks, exploring what part of our self is down there—we begin to gain more and more awareness of the context, the intersection of factors, the social, cultural, political matrix that has created the conditions for this situation, and our role in it. We begin to see the bird not separate from its nest, not separate from its mother, the flight, the food, the wind, the height of the tree. This is critical consciousness, and we are thinking, what to do with all this knowledge?