Last weekend Rebekah and I spent a day with sensuality educators Monica Day and Sam Gedal, exploring desire, connection, attachment, fear (you know – all the things that matter) and, yes… orgasm. The experience was unexpectedly profound for me, and has caused a ripple through my life which is both subtle and undeniable. One of the fundamental premises of the work is that of orgasm as a metaphor for life. This conversation, as the Quakers put it, “spoke to my condition”: how can I stay in the flow of life, immersed in both sensation and powerful ideas, riding the waves and the crests of pleasure, of connection and disconnection, fear and excitement, expression and receptivity, playing with the energies of attraction and revulsion; and still function in the world, run a business and manage my sometimes chaotic energies and the conflicting needs and demands on my time and attention.
Here is how Monica describes the results of this inquiry for her, on her blog:
At some point, you fully own and take responsibility — for everything. The practice, your life, your desires, your orgasm. Your part in your relationships, your choices, your suffering. There is no more blaming, there is no more victim status. There is just you. Your physical, emotional and spiritual being. And of course, your orgasm — which exists on all of these levels. And how all of these parts of you collide with the world around you. And what you do with every moment of that collision.
My biggest surprise: Freedom is not what I expected. It’s much, much better. Much more subtle. Nothing changes in some ways. And then, everything does.
The fundamental shift I had was to understand that in my borderline-compulsive need to live full-out, I was losing the most important thing: Me. I have been getting a lot done, I have been highly functioning in most areas of life, but I wasn’t enjoying myself. So it was game-over from the beginning, I never had a chance and this was the reason I was behaving in self-destructive ways around caffeine, for example. It was a sweet insight because when I honored my need and desire to "drink life from a fire-hose" as it were, I forgave myself for my excesses as I saw them as coming fundamentally from an inspired place. Since getting that, I have dropped my negative internal dialogue around this, which has actually freed me to take better care of myself — previously, shame and blame had me stuck, which are very ineffective agents of change. Failure to take care of myself is actually a very selfish act because in addition to me not enjoying life, everyone in my sphere of influence is affected negatively. I have, essentially, been pretending that I don’t have a body.
Funnily, when one of my friends first heard me talk about the idea of life as orgasm, he said right away: that fits very well for you, Marc!
Another interesting feedback came from another friend and course participant, who told me that in my rushing in all directions at once, I came across as out-of-integrity and not believable (not “walking my talk”). To which I could only agree. There is a difference between “getting a lot done” and being effective. Being effective is getting a lot done while staying connected to others and to oneself.
This brings up another question: this current stage of life I am in now, which is the passionate, possibly even manic pursuit of experiences and connection, exploring the world and my possible fit, seems to me more typical and appropriate to someone in their 20s, or early 30s. Well I turned 50 in March, and I have started thinking of the nature of my legacy and of my gift. I told Sam that I had no interest in being a sexual or sensual educator, since I feel that I have no particular gift in any of these areas: sexuality, sensuality or education (well, I am a pretty good WordPress educator, but that hardly counts ;)). Sam challenged me to write a letter to my list, declaring that I was opening an orgasmic education practice and would start teaching. I am not willing to go that far yet, however I can certainly declare that I am opening an orgasmic inquiry group! A life-orgasm inquiry group, to be precise (you are a part of it ;).