January 26, 2007

The proof is in the pictures.

Enjoy these pictures I took from your evening with Tara. You should rename the group WSW - Wonderful Sensual Women. -Daria

Tara teaches us.

Women are fabulous. Beautiful, full of heart, silly, strong, compassionate, life-giving. Women. Becoming who we are meant to be is a life-long process. Casting aside our insecurities, recognizing our self-destructive scripts, creating the person we want to be - is an ongoing process that takes years and is never finished.

If we are really part of that process, dedicated to growth and change, we must be brave. We must be willing to hurt and to cry and to feel pain until it passes - and then move on to the next challenge that life brings us, all the time knowing that the goal is never reached but that the road is worth the effort. We cannot do this work in a vacuum. We need partners in the quest for wholeness and love. We need each other.

Along the way, we are blessed with the company and love and encouragement of other women, like the women in our group. We laugh and cry, we share our failures and victories, and we are cheerleaders, nudging each other to participate in life fully, even if it hurts. It has been my quest for many years to live in the moment, to immerse myself in whatever life brings me, and to learn from my efforts. It's not always easy or pleasant, but I've always believed that the ability to feel joy must come with the willingness to bear pain. I call it existential angst, the pain of life.

Last night, at our monthly WOW meeting, we had the pleasure of meeting Tara Moore (the creator and sensual coach of www.simplyseductress.com). When Tara walked into my kitchen, I could feel her energy and instantly knew that this was a woman who radiated strength and power and love. Some of the younger women in the group shared with me their struggles to grown and know themselves, how they admire us "older" women and our strength and I tell them that we only got there by making mistakes and feeling pain and heartache and going on anyway. I know a few people who relish suffering since it allows them to play the victim role and get attention of people who people who feel sorry for them. Then there's Tara who experienced abuse and abandonment and real suffering as a child and has devoted her life now to helping women grow and love themselves and become healthy and whole - all through movement and dance. Through being still, we can connect with ourselves - through movement, we can connect with the "now" and be full participants in our own lives. Tara is beautiful and alive and vivacious and fully present - she gave us an evening we'll not soon forget.

So the message is to move forward. To feel. To be willing to hurt. To share yourself with others. To be available for others to open up to you. To be willing to experience whatever life brings to you with a spirit of joy and gratitude. This is life. Let's live it. Fully.

January 22, 2007

Is sex dirty?

Geez, I had no idea my last post about whether men and women can just be friends would cause so much controversy. When I wrote about being comfortable with a guy, I really wasn't suggesting that it was OK to be in an intimate relationship without sex, you guys! I'm really rather astonished at the comments from all of you "anonymous" readers, one suggesting that sometimes a relationship with sex naturally leads to a relationship with less and less sex. Another suggested that being comfortable is more rewarding that having sex. Another said he's not giving up sex until after 85 at least. And finally one asked me to comment - is it "comfort or sex?"

I hesitate to write about this, but considering how I have bared my soul to you over and over, I guess this is the natural progression, to admit my feelings about sex. OK, here goes. I love it. I love it messy. I love it slow. I love it fast. I love it lying down, standing up, or on the floor. I just love it. I subscribe to the Woody Allen School of Sex - when asked if sex is dirty, he answered, "only if it's done right." To me, sex is the ultimate way to feel alive and to be connected with the universe and the one I love. I love to seduce, I love to be seduced, I love the power I feel when I'm aggressive and the sense of letting go I feel when I'm submissive.

I think that my passion comes naturally, since my mom was vivacious and full of life until the very end. In her late 70s, she was in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery, was in ICU for two weeks, and the doctors weren't sure she would survive. One early morning, I went to pick up my dad to take him to see her and he said "your mother called from ICU and when I picked up the phone, she said 'hi honey, wanta fool around?" It's the anniversary this week of her birth and death - we may not have been close during most of her life, but I'm delighted to have inherited her lively spirit and passion.

But, as much as I love sex, it's not something I do casually. I am really only turned on by a man who stimulates me mentally, makes me think, and makes me laugh. I only want to have sex with someone I care about, hope to keep around, and with whom I feel safe. And who loves to cuddle and touch outside of bed. So there are long periods in my life without it, and that's OK too. And, amazingly, I am in my late 50s and last year had some of the best sex of my memory. I may be getting older, but I'm also more comfortable with my body and confident about who I am, and all of that makes it easier for me to relax and have fun. Naked.

So, to answer your question, is it comfort or sex? I want it all. I don't want to settle. I want to be with a man who is passionate about life and about me. I want to be with a man and feel comfortable - and have fabulous sex. Both. So what do you think about that!

January 21, 2007

Can men and women be friends?

Remember in Harry Met Sally, when Harry said that men and women can be friends, but the guy will always want to do her? I just reconnected with an old boyfriend. We dated eighteen years ago and have seen each other a few times in between and he called me recently after my birthday to invite me to lunch. He's like an old shoe, I hate to say, comfortable and easy. And he's still very good looking, tall and blond and blue-eyed with that great smile and that twinkle in his eyes. So I wonder if it's possible for us to be friends?

I used to have a close guy friend. We went to singles dances together a few times a month and it was really fun. We initially dated and then I realized that he was too nuts to be a boyfriend and we became friends. I don't know if he always wanted to have sex with me, but our friendship was fun and rewarding and provided me with a good friend and man in my life when I wasn't dating. And even when I was. He's the guy I taught to be a chick magnent and then he met a women he now lives with and our friendship hasn't been the same. And I understand that.

So LP, the old BF, and I went to a singles dance tonight and it was fun. Well, the dance wasn't fun, but his company was. I have this thing when I go out that I feel invisible, that men don't notice me. LP said I looked hot and usually he tells the truth, so I have to think I looked OK, but the guys just treated me as if I wasn't there. Maybe I'm still putting out those "don't touch me" vibes, I don't know. I did run into another old BF, the one whose break-up prompted me to form the women's group, and I said hi to him like there was nothing between us, and that felt good. But I digress. Can LP and I be friends? Is this the time of my life when it would be just perfect to have someone like him as a friend, to go places with and maybe even cuddle on the couch and watch a movie without worrying about him being "the one" so that I can just enjoy his company and have fun? LP says that, when a recent date asked him what he was looking for, he answered "a life partner, someone to share in my activities and feelings." If I were asked what I thought was vital in a partner, I would say it has to be someone who accepts me, all my quirkiness and weirdness, and likes me because of it - someone with whom I can really be myself. And I've got that with LP.

I like being single. I like having my house to myself, eating whatever and whenever I please, wearing sweats whenever I want, and staying up all night reading when I've into a good book. So, at this time of life, when finding a romantic partner isn't so easy, maybe having a guy friend is the perfect answer. I'm not saying I don't want romance - I would love that. But with a guy friend, we can enjoy him, get our cuddles, have interesting conversations, be playful, and send him home. And then get into our sweats, grab that fabulous book and some chocolate, and read all night.

January 18, 2007

Body over mind...

My fence is repaired and my roof is reshingled and I have a cold. A miserable, snotty, icky, don't-feel-good cold. I never can decide if I just don't take care of myself, like eating right and exercising more, or if it's just my time to get it, or if it's the universe-earth-God-whatever telling me to slow down, take some deep breaths, and let my body heal. I don't know.

We humans think we're so powerful, at the top of the food chain for sure, and have the ability to make anything happen. Well, we clearly don't have such power over our bodies. We live, we die. That's it. Meanwhile, we sometimes forget that the body has power over us, and that its ability to keep the heart pumping and the liver detoxifying and the skin protecting us is just out of our hands. Except for the exercise and eating right, and I'm sure those play a big part, but we get lazy and just assume that the body will just keep doing what it's supposed to do. Our genetics play a big part in our health, our DNA carries most of our fate, and our hormones affect our every action. And we have little, if any, control over those things, we just don't.

What's the point, you ask? So we romantics decide that we will seek "the one" and do this dating thing and make the choice ahead of time that we have learned from our past relationships and that this time, really this time, we will not get sucked into a relationship before we really know the guy. We will, no matter how cute and charming and seductive he is, keep our head on straight, keep our eyes open for red flags and then pay attention to them, and make the choice to get involved while fully aware and conscious. We will put off sex until we know him well enough to decide he's a keeper because we know that, once we get naked and have fun, we're hooked.

So I'm home and sick and read that there is a hormone called oxytocin that causes bonding and attachment, like when babies breastfeed, ocytoxin is secreted and bonds the mother to the baby. That's nice, but we're not in that situation when dating. And when we have sex, our bodies secrete oxytocin and that causes us to feel warm and fuzzy toward the guy and want to see him again and sometimes, as we well know, causes us to ignore the red flags and march on anyway. But we've decided to put off sex until we know him well, so that's not a problem. But now I read, and am astonished and my resolve is shaken, that even touching and kissing causes this hormone to flood our bodies. Men, by the way, have testerone which counters the effects of oxytocin so they don't get that bonding and attachment thing happening. But for us? Even stroking our arm or kissing us makes us stupid?

I'm not happy to hear that, since I'm determined to be smarter about my next relationship. But at least I can be happy to know that, even though my determination is strong, if I succumb to the pleasures of a man and get stupid again, it's not my fault!

January 14, 2007

The analogy of the fence....

Life is temporary. We like to think that things and people in our lives are forever, especially the things we enjoy and the people we love. But nothing lasts. Things break, people leave us. We get older, our bodies change, our circumstances change, people come and go in our lives. That’s life.

My backyard fence has been repaired. It’s strong and solid now, ready to face the upcoming winds and not collapse again. Meanwhile, Juan, my fence and gardener guy had to take out all the plants and vines and flowers that have been growing up and over the fence since before I moved in to this house. And while he was doing that, he trimmed back all of the stunning deep pink bouganvillas that covered the back of my yard, that wall of gorgeous color that so impressed anyone looking out into my back yard. I was shocked at this loss, the change from the beautiful nest I had enjoyed to this wasteland that I must now see every day. It’s just fences and stubs of plants, and I am saddened at the sight of this and at my loss. Even the flowers on the ground are gone, those lovely plants that I nourished and tended for so many years.

But this is a great analogy of life, to learn not to cling to things, even beautiful things that bring us such joy and pleasure. Juan assures me that the plants will grow back even more lush than before, and I believe him. But we cling to jobs that we don’t like, clothes that we don’t wear, knick-knacks that clutter our home, friends who take and don’t give, and romantic relationships that are unfulfilling and cause us pain. I don’t know the meaning of life or the reason that I am here, but maybe life is just a series of lessons about what is really important. That things and people in our lives are temporary, that having less can be spiritually enriching, that we need to live each day with our eyes open and fully awake so that we can learn whatever lesson life brings us. That only in allowing ourselves to let go of things in our life that we cling to will we have the space in our hearts for whatever beauty that life has in store for us. And that whatever it is, we need to hold on to it gently and enjoy whatever it brings to us…for however long or short a time it stays.

January 10, 2007

No, I don't make these up!

It must be the wind or global warming or that I'm a year older, but it's been a strange week. I woke up on the weekend (alone, thank you) to find a large clumping of my roof shingles on my patio. That's not good, you know, they're supposed to be up there. And yesterday, I looked out at the back yard and noticed that the fence on the south side was in a new location. Sort of leaning toward the grass. Again, not a good thing. Not to worry, it's just a roof and a fence. And money.

But then, there's more of those emails, those weird attempts of strange men to entice me with the most unappealing missives. Here goes:

1) "I am not looking for a long walk, the newspapers all over the bed on Sunday or a snuggle but someone with a good sense of humor." Probably be a good idea for you to get one first.

2) "45, slim, attractive, has all his hair. Green eyes and tends to like older women 50+. Will do most anything a 50+ woman wants. Including housework, windows, dishes, laundry, and anything sexual that she demands of him." You do windows? This guy might be a possibility.

3) "'IF U LIKE WHAT YOU SEE THATS A START HIT BACK N ILL MELT U WITH IDEAS. PLZ SEND PIC BACK LOOKIN 4WERD2 HEARING FROM UUUUUUUUU" No, sorry, I can't date a guy if we don't speak the same language.

4) "What do you like to do for fun/dates? people describe me as being romantic, poetic, charming, wild, passionate, sexual, direct, persistent, sweet, athletic, caring, intelligent, and have a good sense of humor. What's your favorite position? Are you good at sucking? What's your breast size?" Trust me, you'll never know. Never.

5) "I read your profile and I like you so far. Me, I am 46 years young, 6'5", 262 pounds white guy. Don't want to brag or anything like that but I am as sexual as they come. I can go forever and basically cum whenever I want. Let me know if you're intererested." No, sorry, not interested, you're just too tall for me. And too clueless. And too icky.

No, I don't make these up, I'm not that clever. Or creepy, I hope. But at least you guys make it easy for me to write this blog, especially in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. And to the guy I actually met who taught me how to understand football and confided to me that "I'm looking for a woman who asks nothing from me but to whom I want to give everything," you're a delight. And I promise not to ask you to do windows.

January 7, 2007

You're gonna do what to my what?

Happy New Year to all of you. It's an interesting time of year, a time to ponder past successes, let go of last year's failures, think of how we want to improve our lives, almost like an invisible line in the sand that allows us to let go of the past and start new and fresh. Create new dreams, think of new goals, let go of regrets. Like taking a long, hot mental and emotional shower, this cleansing away of the past and starting anew.

So I thought I'd do some cleaning, which always makes me feel stronger and more in control of my life and actually clears my head, kinda like meditation with some practical results. I did the usual, cleaning the floors and bathrooms, moved to the closets to recycle some things I don't use or wear, and ended up here at the computer, to clean out the emails I never read. Thought I'd share some of them with you before they go to that place where old emails go, these responses to my online ads:

1) From the smiling guy with the hat, earrings, and long gold necklace: "i am 56, i like to walk on the beach, bike ride cook read romance novels, and spend time with a special lady." Is this a chick or a guy?!?

2) From the smiling guy in the baseball cap who lives in O.C. and is obviously clever and amusing: "This was not an 'attempt' to relay the state of affairs with my chest thumping, mouth breathing, knuckle dragging brothers...nor was the missive an attempt to express the unexpressable, the allure of the rare woman who does have the beauty and charm to make Brave Sir Knight think with the proper brain." Ah, but thou doth live toooo far away to entice this noble lady...

3) And from another dating site, this wishful guy writes to me that he is "Big Protective 6'4" humorous and sensitive man looking for that one in a million beautiful, whitty, smart and adventurous woman, size 7 or less who loves to wear that little black dress with high heels, to share my life with." Maybe if he looked instead for inner beauty, his odds would be much much better..

4) From the guy with shoulder length frizzy hair and the scowl: "I am single and available and 50 years old and I would love to lick your pussy for you for hours - please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience." Not that I don't like that particular activity, but shouldn't we at least know each other's names first?!?

5) And finally, this simple note from the guy who writes: "Hi there, Since I am not in a relationship at this time, I shave one leg so when I sleep, it feels like I am with a girl." I don't know whether to cry or laugh at that one!

So I wish you happiness and health and joy and lots of time this year with your loved ones and friends - and the ability to start each day as if it's a New Year with new dreams and hopes. And most of all, I wish you the ability to enjoy and cherish each joy and pain that comes your way, knowing that each experience is a chance to learn and grow and be a better, healthier person. Isn't that what life is all about?

January 3, 2007

Being here now....

Amazingly, this blog is being read all over the world. There are so many cities I have never heard of, that I am just amazed. I'm delighted to entertain, or at least provide food for thought, and I appreciate your comments and wish you would write more. So one of you, and I thank you wholeheartedly, wrote a comment to the recent Chick Magnet post, that he thought well of my writing and asked that I explain "the personal growth or the experience that you feel when you write your column." One of my personal goals in life is to live in the moment, to live as consciously as possible, to "be here now," and when I write I am able to do just that. I shut off my head, take some deep yoga breaths, and just let the ideas flow so that I can share them with you.

There's something magical about living a conscious life. You just use your senses, as many of them as possible, doing whatever you do. The goal is to shut off the constant chatter in your head and live in the moment, such simple words for such a difficult task. Remember the quote about life being something that was happening while we are busy making plans? We miss what life brings us when we worry or think or plan or fantasize. Frustration and anxiety and sadness can't exist if we are focusing our energies on the moment, for these things are products of our unfulfilled expectations, our concerns about what we might be missing, our worries, and our self-doubts, and all of these are created by our thinking.

I feel strong and powerful when I write, like I am connecting with something inside of me that is real. When I try to think of what to write, nothing comes. When I breathe and wait, the ideas flow. It's the perfect analogy of life, this experience of writing, that trying to make something happen often fails, but letting life happen and experiencing it fully is a recipe for success. So, just breathe. Shut off your head. Smell the flowers, feel the air on your face, connect with how you feel inside when you see a baby or a sunset. Feel...breathe...be.