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

 

 

 

#TeacherSpring

In 2010 when I lived in the Middle East, I witnessed the Arab Spring. People filled the streets with renewed spirit protesting unfair policies. I remember coming back from visiting the pyramids and getting trapped in a cab in the middle of a perfect storm—hundreds of men, women and children filled the streets that were one by one being blocked off by the police. It was scary and invigorating.

teacherspringNow, less than ten years later, I am witnessing a Teacher Spring. Teachers in several states filling the streets, protesting and standing up for what they believe in. Education organizations are experiencing the squeeze as uncertainty sets in, educators rise up, students exercise voice, families pulling out, some leaning in. There is optimism and hope in the air. Emboldened and confident. Fed up with complacency. This year has been the perfect storm of social, political and cultural events. I anticipate more. More energy, more teacher voice, more coalition building as we seriously think about how we want to transform schooling and how we organize society in America. It is all at once nerve-wracking and exhilarating. Where do you fit in and what do you believe in? What thoughts, actions and feelings are defining your Teacher Spring?

For me, I’m doing a lot of observing and reflecting. Asking questions like, what do educators really want? Is there one, united voice across the country? What about our internal divisions and distrust of reform? What kind of schools do we want for our children? Are contemporary public schools democratic platforms?

As a former classroom teacher who transitioned into the dynamic world of professional development, I have lamented how our system devalues teachers. First there is salary and working conditions, but there is also this issue of access to important decision making; decisions related to policy, curriculum, instruction and funding. I understand real teacher limitations. Teachers work tirelessly managing day-to-day demands and they don’t have the time or the state of mind to contemplate big picture conversations, let alone attend all the meetings. Still, without teacher voice we will never have excellent schools. Without the recognition of the skill, knowledge and time required of the teaching profession, we will never have excellent and equitable public schools.

In the last decade I have witnessed attacks on teachers, unions and public schools. I see schools relying on young, inexperienced teachers and scripted programs leading to teacher burnout and apathy. Veteran teachers are often depicted as being difficult and unwilling to change in spite of the fact that teachers have to be master change agents. Yes, there is a wide range of teacher talent but we know from research that all new teachers need help and support and all experienced teachers are simply better, from experience. After that, after experience, we are a mixed bag, just like every other profession. Some struggle and hop along. Others are authentic magicians and fly high.

I think we need to be honest and accept this time of ambiguity. A Teacher Spring can only be good. It is healthy to stand up for ourselves and for our profession. It is healthy to talk about what is going on in our profession publicly and in quiet corners. I want us to feel like it’s okay to ask for more, when we know there is so much more and why aren’t we prioritizing teachers and public education?

I also don’t want to lose any more amazing educators who are leaving.