Archive | Open-hearted

Why spiritual people do ‘crazy’ things

So, being a spiritual person and wanting to access the different realms of human experience…and also loving science and how that informs the world in which we experience our spiritual self…sometimes the spiritual experiences I and other people have are outside of what has been defined and verified by science. So sometimes being outside that ‘verifiable’ zone looks like we do, think, or feel ‘crazy’ (that is to say: not well understood) things.

I have very clear memories of my prayers as a child and adolescent. Praying to god (the white, male one) and asking for help or my heart’s desire or whatever. When I was done I often felt some kind of peace or grace (the sense that things would eventually be okay, even if they weren’t at this moment) or direction. I might open a book I was reading, or the Bible, and find some guidance that fit my situation (some call this ‘bibliomancy’ or ‘lectio divina’). Being a student of science and psychology, I often have to wonder if confirmation bias – the psychological precept where humans tend to accept information that confirms our ideas or preferences – was part of what I felt. I think that sometimes confirmation bias is at work in spiritual ‘insights’ and sometimes it isn’t. I think we have to know ourselves to understand what’s at play in our psyche and when (which is why meditation and therapy should be part of the spiritual path, if you ask me).

In my spiritual work, I receive many different kind of guidance. Sometimes I ask about two choices and the better choice is somehow different than the lesser choice- it might be brighter or clearer or something. Sometimes I will see a sign or symbol over and over again (might be a car, a song, a number, or some animal) and I believe it is guidance. Sometimes I ask a question in the ‘ether’ (a place beyond but including this world) and I’ll read something that is the perfect answer to my question. It’s weird, it’s unverifiable, and it can look ‘crazy’ to outsiders.

The thing about spiritual guidance, though, is that what truly comes from spirit, what truly comes from some place deeper and wider than this human experience, always (in my experience) helps us be better, grow, or heal. True spiritual answers are sometimes fucking hard to deal with. True spiritual answers are not always what we want or wish for. True spiritual answers are good for our soul, whether our ego likes it or not.

When I wanted an affair, the spiritual answer was super clear: my soul belongs with my husband. The spiritual answer was painful – let go. I didn’t want that to be the answer, but it was.

When I ask for guidance between two options, and see one is the path I should take, that doesn’t mean it’s a path I will like. But 100% of the time it’s been the path that was best for my growth and understanding the world in a new way or developing more compassion for humankind, which is what one would expect to be found in soul guidance.

Sometimes the answers are exactly what I hope for. I prayed for a daughter after we had a son, and that’s what we got. (Yes, also science! But there was something spiritual there, too. I didn’t know I was pregnant with her for 11 weeks.)

A few months back I was having a fight with my intuition, frustrated with it, and there was this really clear voice inside me that said, “You definitely deserve a coffee and a gluten free donut; go to that place up the street. But, like, go now.” I did. I got my purse and shoes and headed out the door. And while at the coffee shop, I met a couple from Seattle, my hometown. We talked about the ways in which Rhode Island is really weird, exchanged contact info, and later had dinner together. I would not have gone except for the insistence of my intuition. Which looks completely ‘crazy’ to some people.

I listen and look for little intuitive nudges and guidance pretty much all day. Sometimes I go a different way to work or home or whatever at the insistence of my intuition. And I can’t really say that those decisions have lead to some miraculous experience or shift. But I do know that my life has always lead to the right moment and the right experience for me to learn and grow- and so I trust that those little nudges have helped to create the moments that have changed me. What would have happened, for instance, if I hadn’t left my dorm room at just the right moment to watch my future husband walking across campus? A little thing that lead to big things later.

It’s taken me years to learn to trust my intuition and look and listen for its nudges and other types of spiritual guidance. It takes practice and trust. Every time I’ve begun to work with some new tool, it’s felt really strange and uncomfortable. Staying with the practices, learning them and integrating them, has taken the fear away, of course. That doesn’t mean weird shit – even weird to me – still doesn’t come up for me to work with.

Let me tell you a story.

::: ::: ::: :::

The morning of Tuesday, June 12th, I felt something really weird in my body while I was driving to a presentation I was giving. It was an enjoyable sensation, but also something that clearly wasn’t coming from within my own body. It was sort of like happiness bubbling up in my chest and throat. It scared me, even as it felt nice. As I was pondering what the hell it was, I began to suspect that it was someone sending sex magic to me.

Which freaked me the fuck out on a couple of levels. Who was sending? Why? Was I supposed to feel it? Did other people feel it when I sent to them? Oh, my god- what if they did? I started to wonder about one person in particular.

I emailed my teacher. “Is it possible,” I asked, “for two people to send and receive energy from each other and actually feel it- all of it- both their own sending and the receiving from another person?” She replied, “It’s not unheard of between couples practicing Tantra, but for two people who are not involved with each other, it’s very rare.” Great.

I sat and stewed about it for a few days. I didn’t want this connection. I mean, I will grant you, it’s kinda cool to know that two people have a strong energetic connection, but I didn’t want it with this person, you know? And what if they were sending because they felt me sending to them (which I had done)? I didn’t know what to do. In the moment of not knowing what to do and feeling worried and weirded out, I felt the nudge to meditate. So I sat my ass on the cushion and meditated. It was helpful, full of grace and peace. It helped me stop overthinking and I went on with my day.

A few hours later I felt this weird desire to go look at Facebook. I look a few times a day, see what’s up, keep in touch with the algorithm, etc. But this time, a particular ad for a local university came up, and it was as if a waterfall of information fell into my brain and things began clicking together like a puzzle. In spiritual circles, we call this ‘a download’ because it feels like you’re getting a complete thing, a complete picture or guidance or even an entire class outline, that is downloaded into your brain, complete.  That ad was not because of my husband (who also works at a university), it was because of this person I feared I was connected to.

I began to think about how many times I’d seen that damn ad. It was a lot. I checked my little notation system. Sometimes that ad showed up multiple times a day. This person had been around a lot more than I suspected, and recently, too.

But the waterfall wasn’t just that realization. Other pieces of the puzzle clicked together. Back in September and October of last year, I would wake up in the morning, roll over, and feel like this person was laying next to me. It wasn’t a fantasy – something created in my head. It was the same as when you’re next to someone, but you close your eyes, and even though you can’t see them, you can feel them there. I wondered if we had been connected in this energetic way even all those months ago. He used to look at my picture on FB late at night- was he looking before he went to bed? And because we have this connection, was I picking up that energy the next morning? I began to realize it was not out of the realm of possibility. It’s fucking weird, and unverifiable, but I think that may be what happened.

And then, as I began to think about some of his other online behaviors, other puzzle pieces clicked into place. There was mutual attraction between us, but I realized that he used to come visit my Facebook page at times when he was sad, filled with grief, or feeling intense, unhappy emotions- because I think I felt those, too. When his friend died, when another friend was killed, months later when a semi-relationship failed, and again when the six month anniversary of one friend’s death came around. I think it was his grief I felt when I wrote this post. And the thing is, I don’t think he was looking at my picture multiple times on those occasions because of sexual desire. I think it had more to do with the desire for comfort, safety, or support.

So, here I am. Presented with this clarity about what this person I’m connected to was doing and why. My teacher says it’s quite possible for this type of energetic exchange to happen between two otherwise unconnected people. And while I was glad to have the clarity of knowing what went on, and perhaps why, I still didn’t want to be connected. I thought this person had left my online world in late May, but I realize now he hadn’t, in fact, he’d been trying to get my attention the day before all this happened (June 11th). I just hadn’t seen him because I was done and not really looking for connection anymore. Part confirmation bias and part energy shit is weird as fuck.

What’s even more weird is that now, with some of this new info, I had the opportunity to find him online. Just type the things I knew into Google and – boop! – there he was. It literally took me three days to decide whether to click on the Facebook link. Did I want to know? Did I want the burden of more energy connection? Did I want to know more about him? What good would it do me, or him? I decided to find out.

There was not much on his profile, but what was there confirmed a lot of things for me. Reasons besides physical attraction that I might have been interested in him. Things about his sense of humor that I recognized from other places in my life (a familiar energetic pattern). Even a weird thing I had been thinking about for almost 30 years showed up on his page (I have known, since I was 15, that I would have a set of boy+girl twins when I was 42; he has a twin sister, and we met when I was 42). It was both confirmation for a lot of things, and also a deep dive into the ‘crazy’ part of spiritual guidance and knowing.

I needed to talk to my teacher again. “What do I do?” I asked.

“What do you want to do?” she asked in return. “Do you want this connection?”

“Ha! Nope,” I replied. “Not in the least. First, he’s not attractive to me anymore (the beard, the immature behavior, he doesn’t know himself well yet). That’s always a big sign that things are over on my side of the equation. Second, he’s definitely his age which means not nearly enough life experience to have insight or wisdom, so that’s also a ‘no’ for me. It’s kinda funny…he sent me this energy on 6/12 and I was upset that it had anything to do with twelve, which is my favorite number, but now that seems totally right on because six is half of twelve, and he’s got half the years and half the experience I do. I don’t need an unbalanced energetic connection! Also, I think he can feel me just plain, old meditating sometimes, and I do not need that. Third, looks like he’s doing things and people that are age-appropriate, and I sure do not want to get in the way of that train, considering it took him months to let go…although, he still really hasn’t. But he’s getting better and I don’t want to interrupt that at all. He’s also afraid of me, and even if he found comfort or safety or whatever in looking at my picture, he never needed anything more than that, never reached out for any of that, so he’s also clear about what he doesn’t need or want. Lastly, it’s been almost a year since we first talked, and this seems a good time to return it back from whence it came. There’s just really nothing there and I don’t want to take the time or make the effort to create something, even if the energy is rare.”

“You’re pretty clear on all that,” she noted.

“Yes, I am. I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now. And, to be honest, I’d already processed through so much of this months ago. What do I do, though? What do I do with this, now that I know?”

“What do you want to do?” (By this time, I sort of hate this question.)

“I want to let him know that he’s got interesting energy and good magic and that he can touch what he wants if there’s an open channel, but that he probably needs to be clear about his intentions when he does this. My intention was always for his healing enough to leave me behind. I have zero idea what he was sending his magic to, except maybe to be noticed. Maybe to keep something so he could find the comfort or safety he was looking for. But he has that now. So I just want to move it along and let it go.”

“Then thank the Universe for letting you know what’s out there and do your work,” she told me.

“I will. It’s quite interesting to think about, when it comes down to it. We can communicate with other people through our minds and our energy. It’s very cool. But it’s time to set the boundaries. I can take the necessary steps and start with small spells. I know he knows better than to cross me too far. Yes, that feels right,” I said.

 

“…the spell’s begun…”

 

Today marks about the time we met a year ago. And so it seems a good day to tie off the ends of what no longer needs to be connected. I’ve been setting boundaries and today the small spells began. It is a thing science does not understand, but something I feel to be exactly right, energetically. Luckily, this time, it is both what my soul requests and it is what I want (a rare thing also). That’s how the spiritual life goes, I think. We listen. We trust. We try. Even if it looks ‘crazy’ to other people.

 

“Magic is just science we don’t understand yet.” 

Arthur C. Clarke

 

 

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One Night at the Temple

This summer is the return to my musical roots. I have seen Depeche Mode (for the 18th? time) and will see two other acts soon. Last night, though, was a night at the Temple for a group special to my heart: Erasure. They are a pop-synth duo from England (aren’t all synth-pop duos from England?) and we played one of their songs as the recessional at our wedding. Some of their lyrics are tattooed on my husband’s shoulder as a tribute to me (and I also have lyrics on my shoulder as a tribute to him).

I had never seen them before, my husband had only seen them one other time. The lead singer, Andy Bell, had a cold, but he sang his heart out. The backup singers were gorgeous. The crowd was full of people who knew the music (so, no one under 30) and it was one of the best, simplest shows I’ve seen.

You can catch their playlist here. It was a good mix of old and new. But my faves are below. Enjoy!

Breathe | Video

Stood the test of time
Though I treated you rough you were always kind
I let my head rule my heart now I’m feeling so lonely
And I feel it’s the deal
You’re letting me go, gonna go

Breathe and I breathe
Hollow without you, I can’t live without you
And I’m in love with you

 

Blue Savannah | Video

Blue Savannah song
Oh blue Savannah song
Racing ‘cross the desert
At a hundred miles an hour
To the orange side
Through the clouds and thunder

My home is where the heart is
Sweet to surrender to you only
I send my love to you

 

Erasure: 2018.
(If you know the owner of these images, please tell me
so I can properly attribute.)

 

Chains of Love | Video

How can I explain when there are few words I can choose
How can I explain when words get broken

Do you remember there was a time, ahaha
When people on the street
We’re walking hand in hand in hand
They used to talk about the weather
Making plans together
Days would last forever

Come to me, cover me, hold me
Together we’ll break these chains of love

 

Love to Hate You | Video

For every Casanova that appears
My sense of hesitation disappears
Love and hate what a beautiful combination
Sending shivers up and down my spine

And the lovers that you sent for me
Didn’t come with any satisfaction guarantee
So I return them to the sender
And the note attached will read
How I love to hate you
I love to hate you
I love to hate you
I love to hate you

 

I Love Saturday | Video

If they’d ever have told me that I’d find true love in every way
Would I cry ’til tomorrow? Would I keep the non-believers away?
Was I shy? Was I good? With this foolish heart
Did I try to deny we would fall apart?

 

Erasure: Oh, the 90s!

 

Angel | Video

See how much you mean to me
You’re my electric symphony in blue
Just one look in your eyes, maybe I was hypnotized by you

You told me on the telephone of a picture so serene
And the beat goes on, feels like a fever burning & I say

Yes to your love and there’s no secrets
High and ascending, delving deeper
Fly like an angel wings unfurling
Fanning the flames of love eternal

 

Always | Video

Open your eyes I see
Your eyes are open
Wear no disguise for me
Come into the open

Always, I want to be with you
And make believe with you
And live in harmony, harmony oh love

 

::: ::: ::: :::

That’s it for today, fellow travelers. Big love from me in the bathroom at the House of Blues, yelling at my kids, that “I love (them), but I’m at a concert!!!”

Joanna :: xoxo

PS- Just because we’re visiting the 90s, I will also add Dancehall Days (by Wang Chung, I know…). “Take your baby by the wrist, and in her mouth an amethyst…”

 

 

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Sunday Prayers

Hello, fellow spiritual travelers, my broken-but-working-on-it peeps. Life has been changing and things are delightfully good, and I’m so glad to be who I am, the age I am, and where I am (holy shit, yes!). And I am going to sink deep into this feeling, because it doesn’t come around often.

Where my heart is at these past few days…

 

“Tantra says sex is very deep because it is life. But you can be interested in Tantra for the wrong reasons. Do not be interested in Tantra for the wrong reasons, and then you will not feel that Tantra is dangerous. Then Tantra is life-transforming…

It has been asked, ‘what is the central subject matter of Tantra?’ The answer is you! You are the central subject matter of Tantra: what you are right now and what is hidden in you that can grow, what you are and what you can be. Right now you are a sex unit and unless this unit is understood deeply you cannot become a spirit, you cannot become a spiritual unit. Sexuality and spirituality are the two ends of one energy.”

Osho

| I’m not sure that I’d agree with all of this, because I believe our sexuality and spirituality nourish each other- that’s been my experience. But, yes, you are the central subject matter of Tantra. |

::: ::: ::: :::

“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.”

Terry Tempest Williams

| This is how to have faith, and also to be alive. I think being alive is its own act of faith. |

::: ::: ::: :::

Life on Earth

Wild Horses

A Youth Written in Fire

| Snow Patrol’s new album is really different. And I like it. Gary Lightbody – former priest and current poet – hits some very deep places in his own psyche. It’s quite beautiful to listen to. |

::: ::: ::: :::

Images from my ‘beautiful’ board are inspiring me and keeping me grounded lately. Summer’s passion is finding it’s way into old frescoes and fields of poppies. When the humidity rests atop my skin, I pull my hair up from my neck, sweat with a smile in the shade, and dream of Paris in the Fall.

::: ::: ::: :::

Big love from this gorgeous, hot day and my happy heart,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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The sensuality of safety

Do you know where you feel most safe?

Try remembering a time or place where you’ve felt safe.

What was it like?
What were the circumstances?
What were the smells, sights, sounds, textures that helped you feel safe?
What was happening around you?

Think about it. Sink yourself into it.
Notice what happens when you feel safe.
How does your body feel?
How does your mind feel?
How does your spirit feel?

Safety is an important part of our psychological and physical health.

::: ::: ::: :::

Everyone knows that people who engage in sexual bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism have something called a ‘safe word,’ right? We all know this from porn and Fifty Shades of Gray? Okay, good.

And the reason folks into BDSM use safe words is because why?

It’s because that word allows them to have the power to stop when they feel unsafe.
Because feeling safe allows a person to relax and dive deep (or fly high) into what they most desire.

Safety allows desire to rise and speak its wishes.
Safety is a handmaiden of fulfilling our desire.

::: ::: ::: :::

There are three places I feel most safe in the world.

By myself. Just me, doing whatever, alone. Near people, far away from people, either way. As long as I’m alone and simply responsible for myself, I feel quite safe. (Mostly. I still carry my keys like Wolverine in dark places at night.) If I’m at a bookstore or library, I am especially at ease.

At the cabin. I haven’t been there in years, and it is almost done falling into the sea, but it is a place I felt safe for years. If I need to remember what complete safety and relaxation feel like, I remember the cabin. The 1960s purple polyester couch, the wooden stairs, the musty smell, the old books. In a moment I can remember these things and feel safe.

The third is in the arms of my beloved. If I need a place to immediately let down, cry, relax, or feel protected from the world, I will ask him to hold me. This is something that happened fairly quickly after we met, but it has also developed over 22 years together. It is the weight of him against me. The size of him and that I feel protected. It is his emotional and physical strength, something I can feel running through his entire being. (I also return the favor, although it’s slightly awkward because he’s 6’4″ and I’m 5’4″ and it’s hard to spoon a man that large; but we do, because men need to feel safe and protected, too.)

What happens in all of these places is that I feel safe. I am not worried. I am not fixing something for myself or other people. I may have responsibilities, but they don’t weigh on me. My whole body feels calmer- the slight electrical current that seems to live atop my skin goes away. That is the feeling of safety to me.

::: ::: ::: :::

This is a tattoo of my children’s birthdates. [Yes, it’s cryptic. It’s meant to be. If you can figure it out, I’ll buy you a beer.]

I placed the tattoo on this spot on my arm because that is where they rested their tiny heads when they were babies and I would hold them to sleep or feed. This is the first place my children were safe.

True internal safety is created when children are very small. Zero to five years old is the developmental time when ‘normal’ is established deep in the psyche of humans. If there is a lack of food or clothing or safety, this will register as part of ‘normal’ for that child. If there is lack of attachment or kindness or care, this will also register as ‘normal’ for the child. (It also creates failure to thrive in children who are severely deprived of touch and care.) If there is fear, cruelty, or abuse, this can also register as ‘normal’ for the child. Because this ‘normal’ is developed at a time when the child can barely speak, it is often very hard to change these patterns and establish a healthier sense of ‘normal.’ (It can be done. It is hard work. It takes years of therapy and personal warriorship. But it is worth it, and it is often deeply healing.) The result of children who do not feel safe is often adults who have attachment and bonding difficulties with other adults (which is why you see the rise in people talking about attachment styles and relationships lately).

A felt sense of ‘safety’ is incredibly important in the psychological life of children.

And when we take children from their parents- whether as a form of punishment for legal immigration activities or due to unfair and racist prison sentencing- we are hurting the formation of their psyches. And this is wrong.

::: ::: ::: :::

“Us and Them is the opposite of God.”
– Gregory Boyle.

In Tantra, one of the goals of sex is union- the yin and yang combining and making a whole. And that is achieved through safety and trust.

In BDSM, the ‘safe word’ allows for trust because it establishes safety for the most vulnerable person in the interaction.

In spiritual development, safety allows our hearts to be held in forgiveness and grace. When we rest in the safety of the Divine, we are united with the souls of our fellow humans.

Safety is a necessary ingredient in all of these activities. Safety is necessary to healthy human development. And every human deserves to have some place they feel safe. Most especially children. Keeping families together, keeping children safe, is some of the most sensual and spiritual work we can do.

Creating a world where children are safe is also how we make a better world. We have to be better to be safe. And children who have a deeply-instilled sense of safety and security are healthier all around, across their entire lifespan (read the research). Safety is necessary; all humans have a right to it. And, when it comes down to it, creating safety is one of the most life affirming, sacred (and sexy) things we can create for each other.

 

 

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Beer, Baths, and Bittersweet Memories

Sensuality, connection, and fun don’t have to be a grand, fancy soiree. The daily, easy sensualities are sometimes the most fun. Last week I was remembering a little fun thing my husband did for me back when we were dating, and I decided to re-create it.

::: ::: ::: :::

I saw my husband the first day on campus at Western Washington University in 1993. He was walking across Red Square with his then-girlfriend and I was walking in the opposite direction with my roommate as we headed to a training for on-campus work. Now, at that time, I was a ‘good, Christian girl’ and super excited to be living on my own. You can see my senior picture and a comparison of me then/now on this post. (Check out the bangs! And the henley! And the perm!)

That day, my husband was wearing a mohawk, 8 ear piercings, 2 nipple piercings, 10 tattoos, some mid-calf, black leather, steel-toed boots, a menacing black leather jacket, and a Timbuktu bag (very chic for cyclists in those days). My only thought when I saw him was, “College is going to be awesome.” I was ready for change.

In the next six weeks I had dates with 6 guys, and eventually settled on one, EWD. He and I were together for the next 2.5 years. We were good, honestly. For our age and what we knew of relationships, we were a genuinely good and healthy couple.

Looking back now, though, I see that something was happening in those years. I kept seeing my would-be husband at various places on campus. I always felt a thrill when I saw him, even as I was getting deeper with EWD and feeling certain that we would get married some day. (EWD made the one fatal mistake, though: he asked me to not grow anymore. Sorry, no can do.) The thing is, I knew, even as I was with EWD, that if my husband -then just a cute guy- asked me out, I would have said yes with every part of my being. All those years that I saw him and wanted him, I was laying down the energy of ‘long-term’ as my connection with him. At least, that’s how I see it today.

So, I broke up with EWD about four hours after my husband and I had our first date. (Yeah, a little overlap there. My bad. We both knew we were dead at that point, though- one of us had to officially call the death, and it was me.) Dating my husband was like all of the romantic movies I had ever seen. It felt awesome- giddy, joyful, telling the truth, sharing with each other, having fun, figuring out sex together, learning how to care for each other. We definitely started out as lovers and grew into best friends. We built our love with truth and that also gave us trust. We were also at that magical place where each of us was ready to tell the truth and work at building something; to speak the truth, to learn to fight well, to be open and supportive and work through the shit.

Okay! Enough musing on dating and love! The story!

One of our first dates had been at a bar where all the grad students hung out (he was doing his masters, I was still doing my bachelors), and he bought me the first beer I ever really liked. It was a peach (peche) Lambic. (This is a sweet beer, some call it ‘Kool-Aid’ beer – they wouldn’t be wrong. But it’s still one of only two beer types I’ll drink.) And he remembered this.

So, one night I went over to his place after work. We both worked at a nursing home in town and the work was grueling. There’s nothing quite like hefting 200 lb people out of and into beds for 8 hours to give you really great quads and biceps, though. Anyway, I drove over to his place after my shift, 11:30 at night, and he greeted me with a warm tub full of peach-smelling bubbles and a cold peach lambic. He gently undressed me, with a suitable but not naughty amount of kissing, and plopped me in the tub with a cold one. I felt cared for, seen, loved, wanted. His arms around me, having him sit next to me, relaxing in the hot water and enjoying the smell of the bubbles and the taste of the beer. It was exquisite. It cost him all of $6.

Sensuality + care + love can be simple. It can be remembering what someone likes and giving it to them again. It can be helping someone who’s worked hard to relax. It can just be spending time together, showing we care with our presence. He and I had a great conversation while I was in the tub and then we fell asleep on his twin bed (when you are young and in love, you will put up with some crazy shit, like regularly sleeping together on a twin bed). That whole evening is one I will always remember because it was so sensually delightful, but also full of love and care.

 

Photo by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash

 

Two weekends ago, my beloved was away with our son. He’d had a long-ass weekend of driving and camping and when he got home Sunday night, he was dead tired. When he got home, I stuck him in the shower and put him to bed. It reminded me of the night with the peach lambic, so I went to the liquor store and got him one the next day. We laughed as we drank it and remembered that night. (Although, there was no peche lambic. Only frambois. Alas…  Also, word to the wise, don’t drink the cherry. It really tastes awful.) We remembered the sensuality and our youth and we looked at the long path to today; it was a joy, honestly.

That night with the peach Lambic happened almost exactly 22 years ago. Truly a lifetime ago. We are different people now, yet we are also the same. I sometimes feel bittersweet that we won’t have that memory again, or that the years continue to roll by. But I am also entirely glad for where we are now- making new sensual memories in our new house (I’ll tell you about the one with vodka later!) and I’m realizing that 22 years from now, we’ll be re-living the memories we make today with a smile, too. Sensuality, care, and love can be really simple and sweet- and I’m reminded of how important those moments are to the building of long-lasting love.

Big love from memory lane,
Joanna :: xoxo

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For a week or so, I got this ad on Facebook for a film called “The Dating Experiment” and it was about people trying to date in the modern era. I haven’t watched it yet, but I found it fascinating that young people (even into their 30s) don’t know how to date. In my day, dating was the only way you got to sex. Even if it was a one-night stand, you had to endure an actual date before you fumbled into somebody’s apartment or car or dark corner and got it on. You had to date to get anywhere, romantically or sexually. Times have changed!

If you want to know what dating in the 1990s was like, catch these three films. They definitely reflect my experience as a middle class, white woman of that time. (Also, one of the things I find really difficult for people in their 20s these days is that pop culture does not have a lot of supportive messages for long-term relationships. Like, I’m glad we’ve exposed the darkness and difficulty of relationships, and having boundaries and stuff, but Dan Fogelberg (Longer), Bread (Baby I’m A Want You), Breathe (Hands to Heaven), Terence Trent D’Arby (Sign Your Name), Depeche Mode (Somebody), Sinead O’Connor (Nothing Compares 2 U- my entire freshman year of high school revolved around a boy I loved and this damn song), and the like- they all taught me what falling in love felt like and how to conceive of and live inside a long-term partnership. I think that’s missing these days- the hope and joy of falling in love and working to make it work.)

Say Anything
People have said that Lloyd Dobler was a stalker, but no. He was a 19 year-old boy in 1989 and he was doing the best he could for the times. I would still pick his enthusiastic, unsure, genuine kind of loving over a lot of other dudes any day of the week and twice on Sundays. He was trying his best and he loved Diane so much. I still listen to the soundtrack. (“Maybe the world is a blur of food and sex and spectacle and we’re all just hurtling towards an acropolis… in which case, it’s not your fault.” He was brilliant, our Lloyd.)

Singles
Set in Seattle, so it’s dope for that reason alone. Also, you’ll see the original grave for Jimi Hendrix in my old hometown (there is an awful, gawdy version there now). But it’s a real look at what we were doing and thinking in 1993 about dating and being in relationships- all kinds of relationships. Also an exquisite soundtrack from the original ‘alternative rock’ years.

Sliding Doors
Gwyneth Paltrow’s life is both drastically changed, but also not, in this film about the difference a few seconds can make in someone’s life. (It’s also one of the reasons I take a long ass time to make some decisions.) It’s great in the way that Groundhog’s Day is great. But also, it’s the dating and falling in love and handling it well thing. Not a great soundtrack, but a damn funny character- the best friend of Gerry (one of the main male characters who cannot decide between his girlfriend and his mistress; the best friend is a true delight).

From the time-traveling machine that is my head and heart- Joanna

 

 

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