Bringing It until I Fucking Die

Emancipating Sexuality brings it.
Janis Joplin

Someone I deeply respect, and who has had an enormous impact on the art and craft of my teaching unsubscribed from my blog this week.  It was after a particularly graphic post that I wrote, about practicing to be fucked in an alley.

While I understand on an intellectual level that the edge I walk in my work as a teacher of sexual liberation is not for everyone, inside my heart, I felt pain, and another surprising feeling: shame.

The voices of self-doubt rose strongly: am I doing anything that has meaning?   Am I not going to be liked, respected, accepted, loved because I insist on pushing the boundaries of sexual freedom in such a public way?  Should I tone it down, practice and explore privately? Am I too going too far, beyond that radical edge, to where my work loses relevancy?  The level of doubt was staggering.

Maybe, I thought, I should step away from this work, and go back to working with kids with dyslexia.  No one ever unsubscribed from that blog.  (Okay, I didn’t really have a dyslexia blog, but in my oh-so-fun shame story, they wouldn’t have if I did have one!)

I am not sure if self-doubt and feeling unworthy are the same exactly, but they are pretty darned close. Who am I to do this? Why would anyone want to work with me? These are the unworthy voices.

There is something so scary in doubting what I’m doing.  What if I’m lying to myself? What if I am delusional? I don’t want to be dependant on external validation by others, but in these moments, I find I am.

I know it’s not sexy. I know successful people often hide these kinds of thoughts behind a veneer of confidence.  Which is exactly why I want to speak them.  I get so tired when I try to hide insecurity, judgement, doubt.  Actually, hiding them seems to empower them, make them stronger.  I have found that if I just name these shadow feelings aloud, radical and scary as it is, they seem to dissipate. 

So, dear readers, today’s post isn’t for your benefit, per se.  It is for my own… to publicly own all of those unlovable parts. To claim transformational process as a state of being, replete with doubt and shame.  To be honest about how it actually is today, inside this skin sack I’m wearing.

And I do want the kind of world where we can all be honest about the shadow places, the fear places, the small places, and find love and acceptance out there. I spoke with my partner, who is often wise in the ways of transformative process.  What he said is that self-doubt is just part of the process.  It’s to be expected, planned for even.

And so, wallowing within the void of self-doubt, I prayed.  I asked Spirit for a sign.  “Please, please show me and let me know that you want me to keep doing this., that I am meant to do this.”  

I mean, I’ve trusted this process thus far.  I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, trusting deeply that I am being led in good ways through my life.  I’ve made so many scary, risk-taking-you-could-really-regret-this-later kinds of decisions, and they have always worked out. I have trusted that a higher intelligence guides my work, and that there is a benevolence that is holding me as I move through my days. I have said, and continue to say, “Yes” to what is.

Well, I did get my sign, my coincidence, my synchronicity.  Yesterday, I came across and read a beautiful blog post, one which made me cry.  After reading, I was checking out more of the blog, an lo and behold, the author (someone I have never met) had written to me a couple of weeks ago, telling me how deeply they appreciate my work, how they are coming to San Francisco soon, how they would like to meet me.  In that moment of connectedness, I felt my heart open.  While I continue to feel  fear and sadness and the loss of the kind of passability that comes with being an educational therapist and not with being a sex coach, I know I am going to keep bringing it. In spite of self-doubt, I continue on, as evidenced by the writing of this blog post.

Because I think that  this TRULY what successful people do.  They keep bringing it, and bringing it, in spite of objection, persecution, obstacles, self-doubt, and loss.  They keep bringing it because they have to, because it gives their life deep fucking meaning, and they really believe in their work that much.  They truly cannot do anything else. They keep fucking bringing it, until they fucking die. I am of that ilk.  So, though I know the cost of admission is painful, and that the road will be fraught with self-doubt, I am going to fucking bring it, until I fucking die. I can’t really do anything else.

Receiving the Fruits of Love

“Desire consists of three stages.  First, getting clear on what you want.  Next, communicating it.  And last, being available to actually receive what you want, and recognizing it when it comes.” ~me

Often, this process breaks down for people in one of these stages.  After a number of failed attempts, we subconsciously learn to push away our desire, as it has become the source of pain.  To be truly intimate, we must reclaim our desire.  We can practice each of the three stages.  When we learn to consciously and actively receive, we begin to realize that our desire is not all encompassing.  We begin to know that it’s okay to be hungry, because sometimes we are full.  We begin to allow the yearning that brings us closer to Spirit, because sometimes we know the feeling of one-ness, of not-alone-ness.

Receiving is an Intimacy Technology skill.  Perhaps receiving seems like the most intuitive part of the process.  Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “Pavini, I TOTALLY am able to receive what I want.”  I believe you.  And also I invite you to consider the following.

It’s my belief, that beneath our cool exterior, most of us  feel a sense of profound inadequacy.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Tara Brach, Brene Brown, and many others link our chronic suffering with a deep-seated sense of being unworthy. In fact, the Dalai Lama has ‘”expressed astonishment at the  degree of self-aversion and feelings of unworthiness reported by Western students.”  And he’s hanging out with the kids who are actually working to undo that particular belief!

When I was first falling in love with my partner, I was deeply worried about what must be horribly wrong with my partner, since they were falling in love with me.  How could I possibly actually receive love and care when I believed that the giver was deeply flawed?  And that I was deeply flawed?  If I am not worthy of love and care, I can’t actually receive it.

So yeah, somewhere along the way we swallowed a bunch of crap.   Unpacking and rewriting the unworthiness story is crucial.  And it can be a long road to recovery.  Feeling worthy definitely takes practice and repetition over time.

Once I’ve been working on the worthiness thing for awhile, then I can turn my attention to receiving.  Even if  if I can receive love and care, doReceiving massage can help you practice receiving other things.  I notice that I am receiving long enough to feel satiation?  If all we ever feel is hungry, we lose the sweetness of dancing along the spectrum between full and empty. We numb to the subtlety and nuance of our experience when our ability to move between binaries is stuck.

When I first left my marriage, and I was living on my own, I spent an entire Thanksgiving weekend painting my living room the color of sweet potatoes.  I listened to Lauren Hill, danced, cried and made my space gorgeous.  After the long weekend, when I was standing looking in the front window to my home, and all the lights were on, I had a curious sensation.  I couldn’t place it at first.  And then it hit me: I was content!  I had never had that experience before.  I luxuriated for months in the satiation of all of my work of leaving, moving, and creating.  It was a wonderful way to receive myself, with love.

One way you can assess how well you are able to receive is by asking someone to give you a massage.  (It’s in the name of research, tell them.)  As you are being touced, notice how deeply you can allow the touch to soak in.  Do you feel it just at the skin?  Can you allow it to absorb further in? To your muscles?  Bones?  Heart?  Can you actually feel the love pouring through someone’s hands and into your body?  This month’s Intimacy Technology class is on Receiving.  On how we can practice being available to receive more of what we want intimately, and how we can recognize it once we have it.  I hope you’ll join me on Monday, May 20 at 7.