Spirituality, Sexuality and Sensuality

July 28th, 2010 by Jennifer Grainger

You know, having been married most of my life, entering the 21st century dating scene four years ago when I became single was daunting to say the least. Traditional dating that I grew up with, going out with someone who I’d pre-qualified as marriage material to assess their suitability, has apparently become “so last century.” Or perhaps that’s just the case for women “of a certain age,” many of whom have no interest in getting married again, anyway.  Maybe modern dating is still centered around mate selection for the twentysomethings and thirtysomethings!

In any case, you could say that “clueless” pretty much summed up my dating acumen!

The Universe always provides what I need as I need it, so I didn’t stay clueless for long. Sex and the Seasoned Woman: Pursuing the Passionate Life, by Gail Sheehy quickly found its way to me. This was the beginning of opening my mind to viewing sex outside the framework of church-dictated values.

In my first year of singlehood I relished my weekly calls with Georgia Dow, spiritual counselor extra ordinaire as she deftly captured my unconscious beliefs around sexuality, and, metaphorically speaking, pinned them to a board for me to thoroughly examine.

She did this with questions like, “Who says so? How do you know that is true? According to whom?” when I would state a rule I had adopted as “right” (the breaking of which would be “wrong”) .

With Georgia’s patient guidance I slowly began to think for myself and gain confidence in exploring what worked for me and what didn’t.

In this four year process of diligently deconstructing the moralistic, Victorian values I grew up with, I’ve had to come to terms with being a spiritual teacher, and a woman of a certain age, who is sexually active outside of traditional marriage.

In the deconstruction process I have had the good fortune to connect with elements of our society that believe that pleasure is actually good for you . . . and the people around you!

I’ll drink to that! (and sing, and dance and eat good food, and laugh, and love and anything else that comes my way that brings me pleasure and causes no harm.)

I love the phrase “responsible hedonist” that I learned from the pleasure mavens at Lafayette Morehouse intentional community. It gave me plenty of new information to ponder and integrate.

I’ll save the details for my next book, but you can trust me when I say, not only have I learned a lot about modern dating,  I have had a lot of time to contemplate the sexual “morality” I grew up with.

This led to wondering how pleasure got such a bad reputation.

Here is my best guess based on the little I know about pre-Christian (that would be Pagan) life. These pre-organized-religion folks lived lives inextricably entwined with nature. Rites, festivals, and ceremonies abounded in which sex was a major activity . . . an integral part of nature’s reproductive process.

By and by, along came Patriarchy with its organized religion and property-rights concepts whose destiny it appears to have been to obliterate these enjoyable practices. Sex morphed from natural and enjoyable to sinful and wrong outside of an imposed rigid framework of rules.

Bummer!

Thankfully the ‘60s Flower Children came on the scene. Woodstock happened . . . and the rest is history!

I’m intrigued by the number of women in their 30s who have shared with me their deep questioning of the cultural values of sensuality and sexuality, monogamy and  heterosexuality. They seem to be asking the same questions of “who says so?” and “what makes (fill in the blank) wrong?”

I’m also amazed at their integrity in honoring their bodies needs above their husband’s desires, making obligatory, marital sexual intercourse “so last century,” too.

I am also intrigued by the growing diversity of living arrangements and relationship arrangements that people are creating to meet their needs better than what tradition has offered. Polyamory, for example, which means having non-exclusive intimate relationships within a group of three or more people with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

While this appears to be a really far-out idea, it is really not so far from actual practice of a large percentage of our population who already engage in multiple intimate relationships (just think infidelity). The difference is it is done in secret, as opposed to everyone involved knowing each other, and knowing that it is going on, and being in agreement with it.

As I stated in my February 12, 2010 blog post No More Secrets! 2010 has become the year when the light is penetrating the shadows, and that which has been secret is coming into the light. This is certainly proving to be true, much to the chagrin of some politicians! For us to “own” behaviors previously kept secret is right in line with the evolutionary trend towards transparency.

How all this will play out, I certainly do not know. All I do know is that I am being called to take a stand to re-integrate spirituality, sexuality and sensuality. Healing the rift between “the Church” and sex is a big part of this next phase of human evolution. A person operating from a state of expanded consciousness, that has integrated thought with feelings and emotions, has the capacity to be in charge of their sexual energy in ways that can benefit the highest good of all involved. No outside authority needed, thank you very much!

BOTTOM LINE: It appears that humanity is evolving beyond the old paradigm of right/wrong thinking into one based on the recognition of the oneness of life.

New values are emerging:

• appreciating diversity

• co-creation rather than domination (of nature and each other)

• living in the flow of life-force energy rather than by the clock

A wider diversity of acceptable behaviors is emerging in all areas of life, including the expression of our sexuality. New ways of relating will require new relationship skills. Handling emotions of jealousy, and possessiveness, developing enlightened communication styles and living an impeccably honest and transparent life will be prerequisites to navigating the changes on the horizon.

TIP: The days of Privacy and Secrets are rapidly coming to an end. Capturing “private” conversations as they travel cyberspace is an everyday occurrence. With photos and videos taken with cell phones, special glasses that can let you “see” in the dark, surveillance cameras everywhere, and the ability to broadcast tweets to unlimited numbers of people instantly . . . there is very little room to hide. The key to success in the new paradigm is to live your life with integrity, honesty and transparency. To do otherwise will surely prove regrettable.

P.S. The sooner you claim your right to living a pleasurable life and extinguish remnants of old paradigm guilt, the more you make the way for others to do the same. Imagine a world of pleasure-filled people . . . might be hard to drum up interest in going to war, doncha’ think?!

P.P.S. The diva of pleasurable living is Regena Thomashauer, a.k.a. Mama Gena. Her book Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts: Using the Power of Pleasure to Have Your Way with the World makes a great case for living pleasurably in all areas of your life.

I know this has been a provocative article, indeed. I’d love to hear your comments and opinions. Have you been questioning the values around sex and pleasure that you were raised with? Have you changed some of those values? How supported do you feel in living out your values?

Posted in evolution of humanity, expanding consciousness, spiritual principles, spirituality in relationships | 2 Comments »

Interest in community is booming!

July 28th, 2010 by Jennifer Grainger

I received a note from the Fellowship for Intentional Community http://www.ic.org that in the last 12 months there has been a 25% increase in traffic to their website. They are getting 2000 visitors a day checking out the possibilities, benefits and opportunities associated with community living.

If you have wondered about ways of lowering living costs and getting connected with like-minded people, exploring the Fellowship for Intentional Community is a great place to find out what communities already exist. No two communities are alike . . . each has its unique focus, mind-set and shared philosophy.

Of course, if you don’t find something that appeals to you, this organization offers lots of support for you to start your own community!

Enjoy!

Posted in evolution of humanity | 1 Comment »

Strategic Planning is soooooo Last Century!

July 15th, 2010 by Jennifer Grainger

Developing trust in the goodness of the universe didn’t come easy to me. In 1989, when I was first introduced to the idea that there is a reality beyond our five senses, I was both skeptical and fascinated. The idea that “life” was “guiding” me to experience my “highest good,” and that learning to “follow my heart” would lead me to living in the “flow” . . . well, it seemed like a nice idea, but way too risky. I was well-grounded in my rational, logical mind and I had great confidence in my ability to figure things out and plan ahead.

Fast forward twenty-one years to 2010 and I’m pretty well-grounded in my higher mind, that state of consciousness that holds all the information available to us: body sensations, the subtle energies in our environment and the people we are interacting with, our intuition/sixth sense and our rational mind.

The higher mind is able to hold all this paradoxical information with no conflict, and synthesize it into natural knowningness that is far more accurate than logic alone. The prerequisite to developing your higher mind is having sufficiently expanded your awareness and built enough consciousness to be able to simultaneously hold many things in your awareness.

Once I got the knack of living a guided, co-creative life, the not-knowing how something will work out became part of the adventure rather than a source of anxiety.

With our world changing so fast, and no guarantees on what will happen next, the more consciously aware you are of all the guidance signals constantly being transmitted to you, the more likely you will find yourself in the right place, at the right time, no matter what is going on in the outer world.

The “trick” is to be committed to expanding your awareness and building your consciousness, while continually moving forward toward what your heart and soul desire, one step at a time, not knowing what the next step will be until the current step is taken.

Strategic planning is sooooo last century, and a trap that blocks the flow of your life!

As many of you know, I have been given the vision of community-living as the next evolutionary step. When I first received the knowing that bringing this vision into reality was a calling, I had no idea how to bring it about. Step-by-step I have been following the bread crumbs leading to the fulfillment of this vision.

In my quest I have realized that community-living fosters sharing resources, trading services, and fulfilling recreational needs, while greatly reducing expenses. We are more likely to have our needs for love, companionship, human touch and soul connection more easily fulfilled in community-living than with our current societal structure that segregates children to day-care, the elderly to assisted-living, and working adults to eight or more hours, five or more days a week, at jobs that few find enjoyable.

It has been said that the current “economic condition” is not a recession, but the end of an era, and that our security lies not in a stockpile of money, but in the network of community we are able to generate.

It took me a while to see that the benefits of community-living were definitely worth “giving up my privacy.” But, given that my group-living skills are limited at best, joining an existing community would be a lot like learning to swim by being rowed to the middle of the lake and pushed into the water. Sink or swim. No thanks.

Soon a gentle next step presented itself . . . to “bloom where I am planted” . . . invite someone interested in exploring community-living, who would be willing to put up with me as I learn group-living skills, to join me in my home for the purpose of experimenting with community-living. This felt fun and exciting so I knew that was the right next step for me.

How to actually implement this great idea proved to be the sticking point! In order to be on equal footing with the person who would be joining me, I needed to divide my home so there was an equal division of “territory.”

I let the idea simmer in the back of my mind for a month or so, and slowly the picture came into focus. By me relocating from the master bedroom into the tiny 3rd bedroom adjacent to the room I use for my office, which is also adjacent to the hall bath, I could create a “suite” comparable to the master bedroom.

This downsizing would be like trying to fit a pound of sugar into a sugar bowl . . . where to begin? It took another few weeks of pondering (not trying to figure anything out, but just “sitting in the stillness” while actively listening for guidance) for the perfect solution to present itself.

Go here if you’d like to see the steps I took to accomplish this rather humongous task.

Suffice it to say the transition is almost complete. All that remains is to sort the excess left in drawers, closets, and cabinets into “keep” or “discard” piles, and I will be ready for the next phase . . . locating the perfect person who is willing to work with me in learning the art of pleasurable group living.

The funny thing is after all this downsizing I feel so EXPANSIVE! I thought I’d feel a loss at giving up my space, but instead I feel like I have integrated parts of myself into a more unified whole.

BOTTOM LINE: As the evolutionary force grows even stronger, now more than ever life is demanding that you step into your authentic self and live On Purpose. Every soul has received the message that it is now or never in this lifetime. The old paradigm of laying out each step of a new venture before starting is the very obstacle that must be overcome to successfully transition into the new paradigm of love and abundance. You must be willing to take one step in the direction you are being called without knowing what the second step will be until the first step is taken. Risky? Only to those not connected to their Source, or those who have not developed consciousness beyond their rational mind.

TIP: To develop faith and trust in the process of your life requires taking steps as if you believed the Universe loves you and that you will be taken care of every step of the way. The more you do this, the more faith and trust you develop.

P.S. It really helps to be in community with people who are committed to expanding awareness and building consciousness while developing faith and trust in the process of life. Seeing others model this new way of being as they encounter so-called negative events on their spiritual growth journey, who then use these negative events to grow into their bigger selves, and watching them land on their feet over and over, is a powerful reinforcement in the belief in the goodness of life and the process of co-creation.

P.P.S. I wonder how much of the exhilaration I’m feeling right now about this change I am making into seeding the beginnings of an intentional community comes from the fact that this change is voluntary . . . that it is the result of answering the whisper of spirit that is guiding me in the direction of community-living. I wonder if I’d had an outside circumstance, like a job loss or home foreclosure, if I would have experienced these same feelings of freedom and expansion rather than grief and loss.

Are you making big changes in your life? Are they voluntary or involuntary? How are you being impacted? I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment below.

Posted in evolution of humanity, expanding consciousness | No Comments »