The Hood

I'm in Whole-ier than thou foods wandering and browsing when I notice a plethora of hooded people floating by.

It is as though they are dancing through the air.

Their fluffy attractiveness value exceeds the standard measure of such things.

The delicate nuances of colour and texture hypnotize me.

I am oddly drawn to them in ways reminiscent of my “once upon a time” fascination with all things horror.

I find myself contorting deeply within as a primal force, long forgotten, begins to awaken.

I feel afraid.

Beneath my modern, organic food junkie façade, I struggle to maintain my internal balance.

I have become the hunter. 

I turn to the mesmerizing hood standing next to me at the refrigerated greens section, and I stare. 
I stare with boring eyes into the brain hidden under the flouncy hood.
I am hungry with an inquiring desire that must be satisfied.
I energetically demand, with my will of steel, that they turn to meet my gaze.

I am left disappointed.

I continue my quest in the boutique jungle of pre-foraged food.

I forget why I am here. 

My foul attention is now on the bubbly, bouncing hoods.

They are everywhere.

I begin to taste the salty, bitter release of my watering mouth.

I question my sanity.

A hooded woman sashays by wearing designer yoga pants while carrying a container of vegetarian delights.
Her male counterparts bicker about the cost of gluten free bread and whether soy,be it organic or not, is ever a good choice.

The field is rampant with vegan alternatives that the hooded ones pluck from the shelves like they were harvesting happiness from the tree of life.

The flamboyant hoods are multiplying in every isle.
How can they breed so quickly?

My mind begins to twist into shapes it has chosen to forget.

My breathing is now shallow and fast.

I can smell confusion and rage.
It belongs to me.

I must escape before I go mad.

Suddenly my chest compresses and then, it happens...

My soul opens and from within it escapes an ancient sadness.

An archaic ache drowns my blame of stupidity.

It salves my judgement.

I decide not to strike as tears of compassion wash away the fire of hate in my belly.

The blood of a thousand Coyotes float by me at the checkout counters.  
Taken, without permission, without honour, so their hooded hosts can feel safe in the knowledge that their pretty, fur-lined hats will never freeze in the bitter cold of their, safe, Whole, stylish, inner city life.

(In appreciation to those who give).

Jasmine I.

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Burning Embers

The dried beauty of the ashen mountains whisper to me
as they pierce the sky with snow capped peaks of desire.

Solid in their stance, golden grasses cling to the fire scorched foothills; Their testament to life a billowing melody in the afterglow of carnage denied.

Meanwhile, fierce winds of change blow icy kisses that freeze the jaws of speech, 
paralyze the teeth of need,
and numb the chatter of definition.

These blazing caresses can be recognized as love by those whose hearts have been offered to the alter of death;
Whose minds have succumbed to the release of surrender and whose spirit has entered the land of the unknown.

It is here that we who listen dwell.
Enchanted by the magic.
Engaged with the mystery.
Enraptured by the music of the one.

We are the blessed,
We are the blessing.
We are.

Jasmine I

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An Open Letter to My MIA Father

Dear Daddy,

The forms asked for your name, citizenship, and date of birth.

When I called the help line to ask whether I should use “N/A”, or “unknown” in response to these questions, I was told that I was to fill in the forms, as they were.

I let the man on the other end of the phone know that I couldn’t because I didn’t know who my father was. Without missing a beat he asked, “How can that be?”

I told him that my mother had sex with a man, got pregnant, and that I was the outcome. Other than that I had no details, or at least none that would accurately answer the questions on the travel visa application.

I was put on hold.

After an extensive wait I was instructed to include a “long form” birth certificate with my paperwork. This would, depending on how it was completed at the time of my birth, either verify that I truly was a fatherless child, or supply the requested information.

Because I didn’t have this particular version of my birth certificate I ordered one online from my local government. It arrived today.

Over the years, my Mother told me a few things about you. But being that she was who she was, I never quite knew if she was telling the truth about you, or anything else for that matter. Maybe that’s why you didn’t stick around.

When I finally summoned the guts to open the envelope I noticed that the area where my father’s information was supposed to be, was blank.

Tears began streaming down my face. They were hot and burned with a disappointment that I never knew I had. I wanted to know my Father.

Sure, my Mother had men in her life and sometimes they were decent enough to pass for Father figures. I even called one of them “Daddy” until I was seven years old. But just like you, he too became a phantom.

It is said that blessings come in many shapes and sizes and perhaps you never being a part of my life was a blessing in disguise.

Maybe you were even more un-stable than my Mother was.

If that’s true, then I am grateful that you were absent, because my small hands were pretty full handling the goodies that mommy dearest handed out.

For most of my life I just ignored you, thinking that if you didn’t want anything to do with me then why would I want anything to do with you? This simple, childlike logic kept me cocooned in a steel display case of bravado to which I had no key and no way out — until today.

Today Daddy, my heart broke open for a love I never knew, for a man I never saw and for a life I never lived.

Today I wept like a baby with my body curled into a fetal position as sobs of despair finally escaped their solitary confinement.

In case you ever felt guilty about your decision, I want you to know that I that I wouldn’t have wanted you to stay with a woman you didn’t love, like, or see a future with, just because she was pregnant.

I have sometimes wished that I had had a “normal” family life but then I remember that there is nothing normal about being normal. While this is by no means a panacea for having lived a life of weirdness (you were just Step One of the uniqueness that I call my history) it helps me lighten the load.

I want you to know that no matter why you turned away from fatherhood, or where you are now, I love you. Unconditionally.

After all is said and done, that is the most precious gift that family offers – love.

originally published in: The Good Men Project

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Ode to Pink

I'm reclaiming the colour pink.

Pink is tired of being taken advantage of;
It's name and shade have been branded without its permission.
Its rosy tones have served as weapons of girly destruction and it wants freedom.
The freedom to express itself.
The freedom to shine.
The freedom to saunter, stride and skulk along the sidewalks of life in all of it's multihued glory.

Pink wants more out of life.
Pink no longer wants to be shelved after the age of forty.
Pink is tired of being seen as Red's softer, innocent, more agreeable sister and it wants you to know that it's not as sweet as it looks.
Pink is more than spun sugar, scented flowers and frilly dresses.
Pink is thigh-high patent leather boots, mack trucks, and the colour of your tongue as it tastes the creamy centre of your lovers heart.

Pink is standing up for itself and it wants you to know that it's musical tastes go well beyond rock and roll. 
Pink wants to be heard, to be seen, and to be used in more interesting ways...

Pink wants to feel the sharp steel of your stiletto as it hits the marble of your new kitchen counter.

Pink wants to be the silk tie that binds your hands behind your back.

Pink wants to know the hum of the two wheeled engine between your legs.

Pink is calling you home.

The question is; are you up to the challenge?

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Every Woman's Must Have List - Revised

Like me, you've probably seen the, "list of things every woman should have" more than few times. 

It includes items like a great recipe, the perfect interview outfit, a stash of cash, etc.
All solid ideas but I'm proposing something new; a "Jasmine I" must have list of things that I feel every woman (and man) ought to have.
Ready?
Good.
Here goes:

1. A kick-ass pair of boots. Why? Because wearing them will change your attitude from wherever it's at, to powerhouse, in five seconds flat, guaranteed.

2. The courage to say, "No" without reservation, guilt, or concern for the consequences thereof. "No", is not a dirty word and it is a complete sentence onto itself. Use it for the sake of the quality of your life.

3. An arsenal of words so dirty, so foul, so reprehensible that when you string them together, and fire at will, (with vim and vigor of course) Captain Hook himself would cower in fright. Practice this when you stub your toe or want to choke that "friend" who just bitch slapped you in the sweetest of ways. Do this alone unless you're about to be accosted. This has saved my life on more than one occasion and can be deeply therapeutic and empowering.

4. Savoir faire. This may seem odd after number three but that too requires the finesse to know what to say, when to say it and how to say it.

5. Table Manners fit for a five star restaurant. I like to eat with my fingers and was overjoyed to know that when served asparagus at a high end restaurant that is the way to eat it - with my fingers. Knowing what spork and which blade to use, and in what order, let's you relax and enjoy the ambiance, flavours and company before that five star bill arrives. *Bonus tip - use these manners at the truck stop too, you may get an extra piece of bacon by sincerely saying, "thank-you". Remember, everyone likes to be acknowledged, that's what manners are really all about.

6. Orgasms. Lots of them. Have them alone and have them with others. If you have a hard time having them with others that's ok but you may want to get some assistance with clearing that block up and out. I'm convinced that good, sweaty, open sex is one of the Master keys to vitality, youthfulness, longevity and inner peace. After all, the words, "Know Thyself" includes the whole human experience.

7. A book you're reading. Hell, you can have several going at once, I do. I speed read for facts and linger over the words in a good story tasting them as if they were a fine wine. Reading is another fountain of youthfulness master key. It keeps your mind greased, your imagination expanding, your heart alight with wonder, improves your writing skills and is a magical conversation starter. Always have a book on the go. Always.

8. A past. Be it salty, sexy, suicidal, or sensible own it, it's yours. Then, when you're ready, give back the deed and claim the you that you are - right here, right now. If you don't like who you are, change. It may not be easy but it is completely do-able and it's your birthright.

9. Dreams. Regardless of your age, education, bank-account or background you must keep dreaming. Beyond dreaming, start moving towards those dreams and whatever you do, be choosy about whom you share your dreams with. They are sacred things born from a higher place and if they are to grow they need to be nurtured by caring tongues and loving hearts.

Far from being my complete must have list it's a good start and I promise to add more as we continue along our path, walking side-by-side, in the light of our own Divinity.

Jasmine I

 

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Strength

If Orange is the new black and fifty is the new thirty, then I propose that Soft be the new strong.

Softness demands Herculean commitment, determination and effort.

Let's consider what to takes to become soft in thought.
It's no walk in the park moving that moral mountain of ideal based judgement around that ex who shattered your heart, the parent whose love was empty or that abuser who shows up in every article you read, newscast you watch or child's face you see.

Softness of word follows thought.
The smoothing of a sharpened tongue that's been trained to defend and survive, at all costs, takes the focused practice of a Ninja and the diligence of an ant carrying a fallen comrade home.

Softness of heart shows courage beyond words for it has been blown open by only the most willing (and some may say crazy) among us: 

She who questioned everything she believed and listened to the whispered answers from within.

He who shattered the walls that kept him safe in his shadow garden of solitude; Love locked in, beloveds locked out.
We are the unsung heroes of today for whom giving and receiving have become one and we are everywhere.

As the three aspects of thought, word and heart align we experience the manifested delight of the softened deed.

Our ever smiling eyes.
Our welcoming hands.
And, our clarity of love.
Expressed as elegantly and easily as the ebb and flow of life's breath itself as it sings and sighs;
Soften, soften, soften...

With all of my love,
Jasmine I

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The War?

There is no "war"

Between

Black & White
Gay & Straight
Left & Right
He & She

The "war" is between
Fearing & Loving

Between
Unquestioned Thought and an Open Heart

Between
Unexpressed Anger & Received Compassion

The "war" is here

Not to draw more lines
Or create more boundaries

It is here to reveal the opportunity at hand

To prompt greater thoughts

To ask us

Once again

To make the choice

Of seeing
Not the obvious
But what lies beyond

Not the surface
But what lies beneath

To choose different tools

This time
To unite
Anew

To review
What truly matters

And act
With the power
Strength and
Clarity
of
Loving Love.

Jasmine I

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Receiving a Shit Sandwich

"How to Elegantly RECEIVE a Shit Sandwich and Not Take It Personally" (part two of last weeks cooking lesson by none other than Jasmine I)

There you sit patiently waiting. 
Your heart pitter-patters a song of hopeful anxiety while your mind chews the cud of its self evaluated worth.
"Did I make the cut?"
"Will they like it?"
"I hope everything's o.k."
Your uncertain eyes scan their face with what you hope to be a look of Hollywood cool, nonchalance. 
The only things giving away your panic are the growing circles of stinky-pit-nerve-sweat on your once dry shirt.

As they open their mouths to speak you know it's going to be a harsh, ugly, messy delivery. 
No coddling, consideration or compassion here. Just straight up shit slinging.

You do your best to steady yourself and are amazed at how many simultaneously different thoughts you can have in a single moment;
"WTF?"
"After all I've done for you?"
"I thought we were friends."
"Holy F__K, I never saw THAT coming!"
"I need a drink."
"*^^%*^&&*!!!!!!!"

It's obvious to you that they never read "How to Lovingly Make & Serve a Shit Sandwich While Keeping Your FROS (Friendly Return On Sandwich) Rate High" and you realize it's completely up to you to champion your own emotional well being. 
You'll later decide IF you'll ever speak to this person again. 
A bouquet of manure scented daisies will be heading their way soon enough but for now YOU have to deal with receiving this mess.

Here’s my family recipe for receiving a shit sandwich with the grace of Baryshnikov, the versatility of MacGyver and the saucy sass of Mae West. (you can delete the Mae West factor if you prefer but only AFTER you try it once)

Recipe & Process (it’s an all in one batter)

SMILE as you listen. 
At the same time plot their demise in the most colourful way possible. Disclaimer: this is for your mental entertainment value only. Do NOT proceed in 3 dimensional reality unless your want to spend your life in an orange jumpsuit. 

BREATHE and keep breathing. Be breathy, like you're about to have an orgasm in response to the lube-less hammer up the butt you've just received. (this is the Mae West part and double bonus points if you can smirk a little while doing it) 

Remember – WHO GIVES A RATS ASS WHAT ANYBODY ELSE THINKS! There is a lid for every pot and whether your pot is a relationship, a book, your body or mind, you WILL be graced with the best and highest answer, support, direction and people as long as you keep going. (Smile knowingly here like the Mona Lisa)

KEEP GOING. This is NOT the end – not even close, it's a new beginning. I know that sounds like some overused motivational meme so feel free to tell me to screw myself. Feel better now? Good. Me too.
I pinky-swear that in a day or two you’ll understand that while that particular sandwich was pretty damn shitty, it DID contain some nutritional goodness. If you're wiling to find the vitamin in all of it you'll see that it was good for your growth in more ways than one.

FEEL. Be mad, sad, afraid, whatever. Do as much of this as you need to but DO NOT take it out on the delivery person Yes, they suck at human relations but that doesn't mean that YOU have to. 
Besides, when you send that uniquely fragranced bouquet of fresh field daisies, you can do so anonymously; that ought to bring a smile to your face as you THANK-THEM for sharing and head out the door into a whole new world of opportunity, wine, and chocolate. 

Chew well darling,
Jasmine I

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Between Us

There's a curtain that's drawn

Between Us;

it separates and restrains.

Opening it reveals a view

of you

different than the one before.

Watching through the cracks I see

The Scene;

people bowing, serving, pleasing

like me;

Vying for your attention,

Believing your glance is currency,

life sustaining,

quenching the thirst of loneliness,

I am fed

by your words;

Arrogant needles of sound.

Illuminating my weaknesses.

Piercing my skin.

I am forced to agree.

Although

your knowledge, 

vast and earned, 

is blind

to the curtain I've drawn;

Between Us.

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Serving a Shit Sandwich

It's true, every once in a while you get handed, or have to hand someone else, a shit sandwich. 
It's just the way it is.
I could tell you that if you play the positivity pipe long enough you'll be able to avoid this but I wouldn't dishonour you with a lie.

What I WILL do is share the age old art (handed down to me by my great, great, grand-daddy who was a five star Michelin chef shit sandwich maker - say THAT five times!) of how to lovingly make, and serve, an easily digestible shit sandwich that will keep 'em coming back for more.

You DO want them to come back don't you?

You've been handed the Divine opportunity to guide another explorer along their path so they can jump onto the next best lily-pad for their highest growth and expansion. THAT, my darling one, is an HONOUR and doesn't mean you have to be relieved of their friendship, love or respect.

In fact, if you follow the recipe I'm about to give you, your friendly return on sandwich (FROS) rate will easily be in the 95% zone.

It's true, even if you have to fire, divorce or grade someone's thesis, you'll feel good about the process and they'll be able to HEAR and FEEL that you genuinely care. And this is the most perfect place to begin...

Recipe for lovingly making, and serving, a Shit Sandwich:

Ingredients:

1 full heart shaped cup of caring
1 heaping serving of kindness
1 measure of compassion
2 ladles of thoughtfulness
1 pocketful of fresh Kleenex (grand daddy always used a clean
hanky - at least he said it was clean - but kleenex is a solid substitute)
2 open arms ready to hug and hold
(coffee, wine, tequila and chocolate are optional)
1 looooooong moment of switching shoes (just long enough to know how you'd like to have your sandwich made and served)

Putting it together:

Sandwiches have 3 components - 2 pieces of bread that hold together a middle.
In this case the slices of bread are compliments. 
C'mon not everything they are, did or said was pure putrescence, so give them genuine POSITIVE feedback. 
The point here is to be sincere, people CAN feel if you're full of shit, or could care less, while you're packing their lunch.

Next, add the shit.

Make sure it is mixed well with compassion and thoughtfulness. (This is the "D" on that thesis, the words that point to the office door with their desk contents in a box, or the paperwork that says, "it's over" on a divorce lawyers letter head.)

Now top it off with the second slice of bread remembering to add dollops of kindness mayo and a few squirts of encouragement mustard. (depending on your relationship it can be sweet or spicy)

If you want to be creative and add some "let-us" talk again soon greens, or some freshly picked field tomatoes of "is there some way I can help", please do.

Pay close attention to your charge here. Watch their face. DO they need Kleenex or that 1950's hanky you have stashed in your sleeve? 

Gage their emotional temperatures and when ready, offer your open arms and heart.

***Note*** in that specific moment they may not be ready to talk, let alone hug, but you can breathe deeply knowing that you did your loving best to say what needed to be said with clarity, compassion and, most of all, caring.

Stay tuned for the "how to elegantly receive" the shit sandwich and not take it personally. 

Yah, that's a bit tricky but my granny always said, "you can handle what's been handed to you, that's why you have hands" (she wasn't very poetic but she got the job done!)

Here's to Cooking with love!
Jasmine I.

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The Shirt

Yesterday, a quick laundry folding moment turned into a complete overhaul of every drawer and cubby hole in my bedroom that had anything to do with the fabric and material of my clothed reality.

It's funny isn't it, how we outgrow ways of presenting, decorating and costuming ourselves?

Equally entertaining is how we can know - and I mean really know - that something isn't a valid representation of who we have become, but hang on to it anyway.

It's as though every time we say good-bye to an old shirt we whisper a final farewell to the piece of our identity that we imbued it with.

With every stitch, button, zipper and pattern that we toss aside, we bid adieu to the role we played; Lover, Husband, Wife, Thinner, Younger, Maid, Musician,  Whore, Mother...

We tend to unwittingly give each article of our donned image a persona and hardly pay attention to what meaning we've given it, or it to us, until the time comes to say goodbye.

Some articles are easy to bag and tag like that pigeon shit green vest that you were obliged to buy for your role in your best friends wedding party. Or the tie dyed parachute pants you bought when you were on acid at that Grateful Dead concert a few decades ago.

Then there are those other pieces. The ones that we've hung on to through countless closet cleanses and house moves.

Those odd bedfellows that when placed in a bin for recycling you quickly retrieve for resuscitation and stuff back into its ancient tomb in your closet and heart.

Yesterday, I again, came across the "the one". The last anchor in the cemetery of my past as a Married woman. As someone’s Wife. As Mother to an intact, happy, thriving family.
That worn out, piece of plaid material was my favourite shirt of his.

We bought it together and when it began to lose it's luster, I hung on to it -Just as I had to our marriage.

I recycled it as my cleaning, gardening, painting and overall schlump shirt.

When we separated the shirt came with me but I never wore it. I was content to carry it with me as a seven year, panacea.

That shirt had magical powers in the land of Jasmine.

It served as a reminder that I was, once upon a time, an adored, wanted, functioning part of a greater unit than myself.

It held within it's name brand weave the memory of my purpose and captured in it's breast pocket a piece of my heart that I was sure I would die without; until yesterday.

Yesterday, when I came across that shirt I did what I was never able to do before;
I said goodbye to that shirt and the woman who went with it.

I wonder what part of your wardrobe no longer fits?...

Warm Hugs & Love
"Moi"

Originally published in: GoodMenProject

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What's a Person to Do?

I once dated a man who said, "If you're fed shit long enough you'll begin to think it tastes good."
This was at a time when I was in advertising. (bet ya' didn't know that about me)

I've been watching the colourful unfoldments that are revealing the puss filled center of humanities collective unconsciousness with as much neutrality as possible. 
Admittedly, this is easier to do on some days than others...

I realize that hiding from what is being disclosed is as unconscious as buying into the same energy with which the atrocities have been either committed, scandalized or subdued.

Many are crying out about racism.

Others angry at politics.

Some furious about environmental issues, rape culture or the lack of "rights" in just about any arena known to human kind, or rather human un-kind.

Coping with the amount of pain, suffering and chaos that is making it's way into even the most positively protected parameters is tricky business too...
What's a person to do?

Do we gather a group armed with pitchforks and storm the castle gates?

Do we have another drink, change the channel or GO TO our favourite channel for a bit more upbeat info sourced from the heavens above?

All viable potentialities but I propose this:
What if we looked at the information that's being presented without the filters of anger or blame began to make better choices around that issue?
We are at a place where we have a great opportunity to open our eyes, tune our ears, and question;

Question whether what we've been fed for so long REALLY tastes that good or are we simply too afraid to stand in a world whose foundation no longer has integrity - and probably never did to begin with.

With all of my Love,
Jasmine I

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Testosterone vs. Estrogen

My Darling Man,

I love having sex with you.

When we’re rolling around, breathless and sweaty, I feel like a wild woman hell bent on pleasure and satisfaction – both yours, and mine.

But I’m having a problem that I hope you can help me with.

I want to have more sex with you and I want it more often.

I know some people say that men and women are as far away on the sexual bandwidth as AM and FM radio, but I disagree. I think we are on the same frequency and that a small tuning adjustment can have us making erotic music together as passionately and as eagerly as when we first met.

Here’s what I think is going on.

We run on different fuels. I’m an estrogen-based make and model, which has a slightly different transmission than your testosterone version.

Your man-beast of a muscle car has a lot of horsepower and is optimized for crossing distances quickly like a professional drag racer. It’s strong, loud and proud and I find it tantalizing and thrilling when I’m ready for the race.

My sweetly curved, feminine self is styled to be more of a cruise mobile. I’m designed to cover longer distances so I’m built for a soft, comfortable, cushioned ride.

While we’re both able to get to where we want to go, hot and steamy sex land, my engine needs to be warmed up a bit longer than yours does before it’s ready to be taken for a spin.

This is where I could use your help.

If you were to give me a boost every now and again, by adding some of these specialized accessories into my car-purr-ator I’ll drive like a dream and handle like the best made European car on the market; responsive and able to travel at high speeds with a welcoming interior, made just for you.

Massage me. Touch me. Stroke me in a loving and non-sexual way. Run your strong fingers tenderly along my jawline while looking into my eyes as you head out the door for the day. Just the thought of that is making me tingle inside and that feeling will last all day long for me – remember I’m built for distance.

Notice me. Comment on how valuable I am to you and others. Just like when your boss gives you that pat on the back for a job well done, I too revel in the pride of being acknowledged. It adds to my confidence levels and that gets translated into my naked time with you.

Compliment me about something other than my body.

I appreciate that you’re so into my form but my estrogen-based fuel makes me a bit more emotionally focused than you are most of the time. This means that I thrive and flourish under the well-oiled recognition of my internal assets rather than my external ones.

Tell me how much you adore my laugh.

Mention how much you appreciated the way I took our kids out on Saturday morning so you had a quiet house to catch up on some much-needed sleep after that exhausting business trip.

Words of recognition tune my engine in ways that will get breathlessly whispered in your ear the next time I’m wearing that cowgirl hat.

Take me out.

Make plans for a date.

Spontaneously invite me for lunch on Wednesday afternoon and ask me to meet you at that hot dog cart that always smells so good. We can people watch while trying not to drip ketchup on our clothes and grab a quick coffee afterwards. The truth is even if I can’t meet you the fact that you asked me activates my spark plugs. When you take the time to consider and plan a date for us, regardless of how simple or lavish, my sexual RPM’s increase so quickly that shifting from first to fourth happens at the speed of a kiss, which brings me to my last favour.

Slow Down.

Go easy.

Savour me.

Your high revving engine excites me but sometimes I’m a bit overwhelmed by it too.

Imagine being asked by your best friend to drop by for a quick beer on a Sunday afternoon and walking in to find he’s also invited his son’s baseball coach. No big deal right? Except that this coach is also the client you’ve been trying to arrange a meeting with for the past six months and you’re unshaven and unprepared.

We both know you’ll rock that meeting because you know your stuff inside and out but it’ll probably take you a few minutes to get over the unexpected, steady yourself, and warm up to the scene.

The same goes for sex and me.

When I’m presented with your high-powered, nitrous boosted desire it takes me a few minutes to catch up.

If we could slow down a little in the beginning I’m sure our speedometers would align quicker than we think and that checkered flag would drop to signal yet another lusty evening for two.

Now that I’ve shared the secrets of how my estrogen fuelled sex machine works with you, I look forward to hearing all about yours…

originally published in: The Good Men Project

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To Trust a Man...

I listened to Benjamin as he spoke softly to his Grandmother. His lulling tones calmed her as she lay in the hospital bed pleading with God to take her from this life.

He spoke with such gentle authority that I felt myself being wrapped in an embrace of safety and love.

The now withering body of his once virile elder began to soften. Her watery blue eyes began to shine with trust and recognition as she too fell under the whispered spell of her grandson turned Sage.

He wove words into a melodic story of a life lived fully that was now blooming into the fresh perspective of being reborn into a new reality.

I saw him as if for the first time and was, once again, captivated by this magnificent man.

I wonder how it is that until now, regardless of a sixteen-year marriage and encounters galore with the opposite sex, I’ve never really trusted a man.

You see my past is filled to overflowing with love gone wrong.

There is an Arabic saying that says, “If you step in shit, step well”.

While I have considered the myriad of ways to interpret this piece of advice, it would seem that when it came to attracting men of a certain type, I was the Empress of stepping well.

I’d cue the violin music as dramatic accompaniment to my woeful tales of betrayal, deceit, and, empty promises but my past relationships sound track is more like a rock opera than, “Fiddler on the Roof”.

Like any grand theatrical performance my, “pre-Benjamin days” had an intense cast of characters with an epic script.

There was the lover I refer to as, “Two Wolf Man”. He was a treat. Thanks to him I can add the title of Mistress to my dating resume. It was particularly interesting to me that I was unaware of being the other woman until I received a letter of introduction from his fiancé. Upon receipt of her generous and well-mannered correspondence, I left that overworked and underappreciated position and moved on to other manure filled pastures.

With fond memories of wild sex, a date to meet his son and planned vacations to foreign lands, I said good-bye to the male I call, “Panty Man”.

Before I left his high-end townhouse and unusual lifestyle, I did ask him to whom the stiff crotched Victoria Secret panties, that I found stuffed between the couch cushions, belonged. I am, after all is said and done, a curious woman. His answer was perhaps the only honest thing he said to me during our eight-month liaison. He said, “You weren’t supposed to find those”.

These two encounters are a small but colourful sample of some of the experiences that contributed to my intense suspicion and mistrust of any penis bearing human.

I believed, with the entirety of my being, that all men were liars and cheaters.

I knew, with impeccable accuracy, that testosterone units were unable to openly communicate, that they lacked the ability or desire to be intimate and were cowards in their own lives and I double-dared life to prove me wrong.

During that time in my life I was spinning wildly as I fought an inner battle of, “he loves me, he loves me not”.

I craved a conscious union yet wore a cage of male bashing and love defying beliefs around my heart. In my own special sprinkled-with-sugary-goodness and lots-of-valid-experiences-to-justify-it kind of way, I became the estrogen-based version of what I’d felt so exploited by – funny how that goes, isn’t it?

My communication skills centered on teaching the man in my life to be an open and honest partner while I sat atop my cushion of conscious and spiritual relational know it all.

I was emotionally unavailable and couldn’t feign intimacy if I tried.  I was preoccupied by suspicion and constantly on guard for any scent of deceit that my lover may be sporting.

I also had trust issues. My specific brand of Eau du Trust-Not included dusting my men for fingerprints, watching if their eyes traversed another woman for a moment too long, seeking praise and continual validation of their commitment and fidelity and, on occasion, looking over their shoulders as they texted. I had also developed a habit of sliding my hands between the couch cushions and looking under their beds, just in case…

My communication skills centered on teaching the man in my life to be an open and honest partner while I sat atop my cushion of conscious and spiritual relational know it all. This was an effective distraction until it wasn’t. My unwillingness to be intimate and reveal my soft underbelly of fear, self-doubt, and abandonment rang in my ears with every enlightened lesson I so gleefully rammed down the throats of my consorts.

And then I met Benjamin and I let him meet me – all of me.

I revealed the scared, hurt, vulnerable, innocent and jaded me, and you know what? He loved me through every moment. He stood beside me as I ran away, came back, apologized, blamed, forgave, threw up and grew up.

This man showed me that he had a heart and that he wasn’t afraid to use it.

Through loving Ben for whom he is and in turn, being loved for who and how I am, I have realized that my past was simply a reflection of my own demons. The men that I thought punished me through their behaviors did not, in any way, represent the male population as a whole. In fact, I have found that as with most things, I got what I was looking for and what I too was giving.

I’d love to say that I suddenly changed into the version of myself that I am today – A woman who, four days ago, sat in a hospital room listening to her beloved apply a verbal panacea to his Grandmother’s broken spirit and aching heart. But that would be dishonest.

I have learned through my partnership with Benjamin that it is honesty, above all else, that floats the boat of love. It is a trust in speaking the truth of ones soul, no matter how weak our knees become, which allows the canoe of a relationship to evolve into a vast ocean faring vessel that can sail through any storm. Even one as tender and as heart rendering as saying Goodbye.

originally published in: The Good Men Project

 

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Life and the Shady Art of Coupon Clipping

Like me, you too may have what I've come to refer to as coupons.

These saved coupons begin with a loving desire to let bygones be bygones and usually end with the gale force winds of a hurricane gone rogue.

These collections of unspoken discounts get built one-by-one. 

Take my most recent coupon clipping extravaganza as an example:

It began with an innocence that only those of us who consciously deny the resentment that lives under our facade of false pleasure and service can understand. 

My fool-me-daily dialogue went like this:

"I'll take the garbage out one more time and maybe they'll bring the cans in from the curb."

"They probably don't know any better."

"I'll lead by example!", and I sure did; If only they had paid attention...

"I like a clean stairway, laundry room, walk way and foyer so I'll clean up their pine needles, mud, lint, cigarette butt collection and flyers - AGAIN..."

Then came:

"WTF is wrong with these people?"

"I'll try an experiment. I'll stop and see if they finally get it and pick-up the slack." 

That last one bounced back on me like a well thrown boomerang and smacked me square in the head while I was busy looking elsewhere; and it hurt. 

It hurt enough that I finally spoke up.

As happens, my coupon dumping at the check-this-out counter was not well received. 

I was told that my coupons were invalid. 

That I shouldn't have waited so long. (right on that front) 

That I was over my allotment of usable coupons per transaction. 

(they had a point here too)

And, until yesterday, this has been the way of it.

Too often have I held back only to be told that I'm over reacting, over reaching and over emotional when I finally let loose.Was I? was I being the over woman?

Not from my perspective. 

From where I stood I was calm and clear and right and as the discussion grew in heat, I spat with the accuracy of a cobra. 

My verbiage, knowledge of legal parameters, and strikes to the heart of their misconduct were swift and meant to cause alarm - and they did.

Gone was my concern for the relationship. 

Absent were the desires that got me into coupon saving mode in the first place; the need to play nice, shut-up, and not rock the boat.

I was free.

Today, as I recount yesterdays events, I know I did the best thing for me and all concerned.

How do I know this amidst what looks like chaos? 

By the way I feel.

I have no remorse. No guilt. No emotional hangover.

My head is high and my sprit is clear. 

No longer will I collect coupons. 

Instead, I will open my mouth, speak-up and ask for the price adjustments I need, in the here and now.

One last note, if you happen to have any coupons hanging around in your drawers, you might want to cash those babies in before they meet with the right cashier at the wrong time ...

With un-discounted Love.

Moi.

SLXLM

Handling Change

Mercury is direct again but Kali, the Goddess of transformation is still at it.

She's cranked up her renovation schedule and won't take no for an answer.

If she feels the kitchen, bedroom or boardroom of your life needs an upgrade you may find yourself cooking in a new home, sleeping alone or getting real about your career, calling, vocation or meandering lethargy.

I've discovered that any resistance towards Kali's redecorating brings road rash of the most unpleasant kind...

As I tend to my self-inflicted wounds of passionate opposition she keeps revamping my world, her way.

She is deaf to my cries of dismay and I've been stripped of my cozy blankets of illusion.

Standing naked, I lament the coldness of her blade while admiring the precision of her skill.

Kali has burned my fictional house of cards; the home I built and believed in with all but half of my heart.

I know that I am left with the same choices I've always had; live naked or die adorned in my tailor-made, fantasy costumes of fulfillment, triumph and love.

This time, for Kali has paid her respects before, I've decided to remain naked.

My teeth chatter in the starkness of a new reality but I will not reach for my outworn clothes of appearance.

Nor will I forage anew for the mirage of stability mired in the quicksand of belonging.

Not today.

Not tomorrow.

Not ever.

For that was then and this...this is now.

Kali arrives in her fiery chariot without warning.

She abides by no well mannered or proper scheduling, planning or invitation.

Wanted or not, she simply appears and wise is the one who surrenders to the answer of change.

When Kali comes for you, will you stand naked in surrender or will you grasp at the clothes of one who no longer exists?

The Good Relationship - What it Takes

In my early 20’s I dated like a wild cat and my list of eligibility prerequisites was short sweet and simple. 

  1. I had to be attracted to you.

As I moved into my thirties I was married with children, a shameless flirt and demanding of the attention I thought I deserved.

I worked hard on my body and kept my home in alignment with the strictest of Home and Garden protocols.

I was the original poster Mom for helicopter parenting and won the hostess of the year award in my large social network.

As my then self wanted, I insisted that my mate do as I did – minus the flitting about of course – or, at the very least, he do as I said.

When I turned 40 years old my marriage ended (I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming) and it took me five months to wake up to the reality that I was living in a house that reeked of new furniture instead of the comfortably antiquated familiarity I had grown accustomed to.

When that happened I was so emotionally ripped open that I cried, everyday, for six months, which led me on a two-year personal healing hiatus.

This was not easy.

As a matter of fact, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

I avoided socializing like it was a snake pit and instead, took care of my battered soul and my broken heart.

I was determined to clean up my part of the mess that had added to the ending of my marriage so that when the day came for me to get out there again I would be a new and improved, more consciously aware version of me.

But, there are some things that only live practice can make obvious and floundering around the dating pool showed me just how juvenile my relationship skills actually were.

First there was my foray into the online dating world.

While highly entertaining, it was also profoundly revealing. What it told me was this:

  1. I was starving for real connection
  2. I was delusional and gullible

Second was my awareness that just because I wanted to date this illusive creature known as The Good Man didn’t mean I knew how to find one or be with one. Nor did my intention describe what I thought being a good man was.

As I sorted through my messy relationship files a few things became crystal clear.

  1. Being good has nothing to do with whether or not one has a penis
  2. I had to become the good I wanted, so I would be able to recognize it when I saw it in another, and equally as important, when I didn’t.
  3. What I really wanted was to be a part of a good couple

This last one put the whole good thing into a context with which I could work because it became a viable, applicable, in motion possibility and being a form equals function type of woman if it doesn’t work in day-to-day life, it’s no more useful to me than another theoretical lecture on the art of zilch.

Here’s what I found, practiced and became that landed me in the juiciest, sexiest, most loving and growing coupling I’ve ever known, or even considered possible.

1. If you want to be loved define what that looks like to you. 

Then do whatever you have to do to love your honey the same way you want to be loved.

Sounds simple right? Now ask yourself what happens when, from your perspective, your sweetheart screws up royally.

How do you handle it? Do you leave? Yell? Ice them out?

If the way you respond to that infraction feels like the way you’d want to be treated if the shoe was on the other foot, great. If not, then you’d better make some changes or you’ll be living in hypocrisy, not a loving union.

2. Be honest and gentle, steadfast and solid in your mind and emotions. In a nutshell know what you are willing to be a part of and what you are not and be open to communicate with your beloved for as long as it takes to find peace, together.

This takes great skill and a desire for both parties to engage at the level of the heart. I’ve had some challenges take months to unwind in a way that both my dumpling and I felt heard, seen and taken for full on but in our hearts and in our communication we both knew neither one of us would accept anything less than integrity, honoring and loving of ourselves, each other and our union.

3. A relationship, or a couple, is not made of two it is made of three, distinctly individual energies. There’s you, then there’s me and finally there is us.

The moment we begin to cross-wire our identities or trade off our needs and wishes for the other, the health of our couple tree starts to fade.

While it is important to nurture and consider the relationship itself, to oppose, suppress or repress any part of the triad will cause damage to the organism as a whole.

4. Be playful with each other.

Laugh, giggle, wrestle, and watch cartoons or sexy movies together.

Try new things, go to new places, stretch and grow as a couple and encourage the other to do the same on a personal level while genuinely delighting in and supporting each other’s expansion.

5.Take space. 

Have your own personal room where you can lock the door and not be disturbed for any reason other than a real emergency and honour each other’s closed door time.

6. Set the one(s) you love free. 

This is not for the faint of heart but I promise if you can give your partner true unbounded freedom you’ll have it too.

You’ll be free from worry and trust will never be an issue again because you’ll realize that the love you feel is what you want, an unconditional one.

This is my definition of what it takes to be a good man and a good woman in a good relationship, what’s yours?

originally published in: The Good Men Project

The Ecstasy of Freedom

She sat facing the window. 
The sun of the fading day caressed the pale skin on her long, delicate neck; the place where countless leashes of mistaken self-confinement once held her in place.
No more
Her heart quickened with the wild passion and subtly confused freedom that begets a caged bird, now set free.
As the light of the outer world dimmed, the woman stood, naked amidst the cloudless night. 
She gasped in ecstasy as her heart drew into herself the light of her own desire.
Her spirit embodied, her soul ignited, her quest began
Unburdened of control, released of the wiry shroud, breath moving, loins dampened with the earthy fragrance of Creation. 
Free of the collar.
Roaming the world of her inner self, alive, beautiful and awakened.
To Life.

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Acrobats of Fear

"And when you're afraid of someones judgement you can't connect with them. You're too preoccupied with the task of impressing them."

~ Amanda Palmer, "The Art of Asking"

Yup, I've been there and done that.

As a matter of fact, I just had an epiphany about how I've been unconsciously (hence the epiphany part) playing up to someone. 

I did this because I believed them to be a power house of influence.

I thought that if they didn't approve of me I'd be crushed under weight of their wicked and well respected tongue.

I was afraid.

As the film of my jumping-through-fiery-hoops-days plays out, I'm astounded at the lengths I've gone to to be included, liked and A-listed; all out of fear.

So desperate was I to have the merit of their grace that I became blind to the fact that the relationship was one sided. 

That the words they used to express themselves were mean spirited, angry and pessimistic; all guised under the cloak of humour. 

That they regularly made fun of things I hold dear.

In my eagerness to wear the robes of cherished follower, I missed connecting with who, and how, they really are.

The unwinding of my contortionistic endeavours has revealed many important insights. Not the least of which being that I truly believed that I enjoyed that person, and I did; the scared, battered, little one, that dwelled deep within, did like them - she was too afraid not to.

She thought that choosing herself over a false god made real through their capacity to influence, was punishable by death.

And so, she gave herself away.

She crippled her stance, blurred her vision, ignored her heart and lived in a mind sticky with fear.

But, that was then and this is now.

Now, she stands tall.

She's decided to impress herself first and is living the strength of heart, clarity of vision and power of choice that comes with every piece of garbage she empties from the trashcan of her mind.

Watching her spring forth and bloom anew, I once again learn that my connection with others is only as real as the connection I have with myself.

With love,

Jasmine I

The Lie of a Rose

The sign said, "Come on in and smell the roses", so I opened the door and walked in.

Barely in the store, I was greeted by the shop keeper, "Can I help you?"

"I thought I'd take you up on your invitation, I'm here to smell the roses.

"The proprietor's blank stare was guarded and sprinkled with a hint of fear.

"The sign in your window says to come on in and smell the roses."

"Oh." This sound was uttered with the disappointment of a kid whose lunch box is filled with sardine soup instead of the PBJ she was hoping for.

I didn't let the weight of the woman's mood settle into me. Instead, I walked around the rose store sniffing its collection of fancy, colourful blooms.

With each hopeful inhalation I waited.

I waited for the fragrance.

I waited for the perfumed note of flowered seduction.

I waited to be carried away on its aromatic story - but nothing came.

Nowhere in that shop of roses could I find the promise that had my feet cross the threshold in the first place; the gift of scented roses.

As I completed my round of olfactory investigation I thanked the now invisible keeper of the roses and walked back out into the cold, grey noise of the city street - and I inhaled.

The heady bouquet spoke a thousand wordless languages; the car exhaust spewed its tale of life's erratic flow filled with stops, starts and uncontrollable circumstances.

The icy aroma of snow foretold of shovels, bruised knees and the relished warmth of lovers arms and fireplaces.

Overly perfumed people huddled by; cloaked in nose assaulting clouds of bottled confidence disguised as cologne, each hoping to hide their unique brand of shame, guile and guilt.

The next time I walked by that store, the sign was gone and the windows were dark but such is the way of false invitations; they arrive on wings and fall into ruins.

With love,
Jasmine I

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