Saturday, December 31, 2016

A joyous New Year

On the morning of the last day of the year, I'm reflecting a little on this year about to end. It was a relatively quiet year for me with few major highlights. My personal highlight was my time at the retreat in New Zealand. I am so happy I took that risk and flew my wings.

On a relationship level, my mind immediately flew back to a morning in the country, mid-winter. My husband and I had rented a darling little cottage. He asked me what toys I had brought along and I told him of a ripple-y butt plug. He asked me to produce it and he had me lay on my side as he put it into position.

He told me later that the transformation had been immediate; something that he would not have believed possible if he had not seen it with his own eyes. One minute I was a girl and the next I was a toy; soft, compliant, suggestible; hungry.

There is little point in dismissing the life blood of this toy inside the girl. She's hardly a fabrication of my imagination when she rises up and is visible to others.

When this toy gets an opportunity to be fully alive, it's a wonderful time for those in her company as well. There's something about her presence that makes me, and my husband, abundantly filled with joy. I'm younger, more carefree, and what's exciting is that those benefits don't last for a minute or an hour, or two, but for days and days. Here I am writing about a morning in early June, six months ago now, feeling all the delight again of remembering the time of "simply letting go".

I listen to a CD regularly where the man talks about this: "simply letting go". "More and more" he will say in a voice that lulls one further into the trance-like state. "Deeper and deeper", he will say, and a little smile is formed because I wait for that phrase, softening a little more each time he says it throughout the meditation.

The toy (aka bimbo or cindi) and a spiritual state became blended in my mind quite some time ago. I give in to both experiences and I benefit from both experiences. In the main, I need some guidance to get to both states, but I can go solo, if necessary. I can meditate alone and that's good; beneficial, always. But the meditation in a group has a quality that I can't find in meditating alone. So it is with the toy. I can take measures to sink into the toy state; a more, mellow mind. However, it is only with the guidance of a 'top' that bimbo can really come alive. She needs someone to guide her, to play with her; to provide her with experiences that she can't provide herself.

I have a number of goals for the coming year, but none is really more important than seeing to it that the toy has more time to call it's own. She's sweet. She's giving. She's loving. Okay, she's slutty. But, her joy is infectious. More joy. That seems a perfectly acceptable new year resolution, I think.

Wishing you a joyous New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A review of 2016 at Christmas

Few people would disagree that it has been a turbulent year. One feels this turbulence in the air and there is little doubt that there's been a lot of anger and upset expressed, as evidenced in the American election process, to name just one oddity this year. I heard one psychologist express the opinion that Trump, an undeniable narcissistic individual, could not have been elected if the nation wasn't so full of people who felt perfectly fine with identifying with those qualities. Food for thought there.

On a personal level, the year has been something of a process for me as well. Ross Rosenberg, a psychologist who specializes in Love Deficit Disorder uses the analogy of a person who is wearing glasses that are foggy. Such a person can only see what he (or she) sees, but once fitted with suitable glasses where he (or she) is able to see quite clearly, the thinking transforms. That's the way I have felt.

When I look back on the last several years of my life I was somewhat blinded to what was going on inside of me. I knew that something felt very uncomfortable sometimes, but I didn't know how to fix that feeling. Part of that was to do with the fact that my husband really did become excessively preoccupied with a range of matters and I missed his attention and affection.

However, by looking too closely at his behaviour and not my own, I was missing a vital clue. Then, I started to examine my behaviour more closely and to listen to his observations without dismissing them as him making excuses for being distant.

I'm a researcher, by instinct and training. The Internet gave me the opportunity to delve into issues, but it took more than the reading itself. It was a giant jigsaw puzzle and I was often short of a piece or two of the puzzle. I'd read Pia Mellody, or Ross Rosenberg, and I'd get it, but only intellectually. By that I mean I couldn't quite understand how it related to me and to my life; what I thought, what I did; how I reacted to circumstances.

I identified, eventually, that I had been neglected in childhood and that was a major move in the right direction. I still don't and never will see it as a wilful act of neglect because it just was not that way. However, it was neglect. I was left to my own devices to bring myself and my younger brother up as best I could. I was often alone. I was forced to revert to a fantasy world. I never came first in anybody's eyes.

Still, I was loved. I could feel the love and that kept me whole. Or, so I thought. I didn't understand until earlier this year that there had been damage caused to me that left me vulnerable and open.

I am someone akin to an 'echoist'. I put others' needs first. I'm the opposite to someone who puts their own needs first.

Okay. So, I identified that about myself. The psychologist several years ago identified that about me too and tried to help me with 'boundaries' and doing something for myself and not feeling bad about all that. I tried hard to get it but that part of me just wasn't ready to understand what she was saying such that I could put it into practice. Oh, I did the Masters and did well, but my self-esteem still needed a great deal of work. I can't blame her, or anyone, for thoughts that I was useless at something for which I got very high grades. That was my issue and something that still needed a great deal of work.

The problem lay in the fact that I was relying on other people for my self-worth; good grades, successful husband and children; being a good bimbo; that sort of thing. I had to learn to esteem myself; to have a sense of inherent worth equal to others. Importantly, I needed to stop feeling 'better than' or less than' other people. I've a great deal of empathy for people so I didn't realize I was doing this until it occurred to me that I had always felt empty outside of relationship. Think carefully about that if this relates.

Next, I had to learn how to set boundaries; to stop just doing what other people wanted me to do and expected me to do. I had to learn to negotiate; to stand up for myself; to express my upset when I was upset and not hold it, eventually becoming over emotional when it seemed that I was being taken for granted. This is a work in progress. It has caused some dissent but on the whole I have received great encouragement. I have experienced some kick-back but most people have accepted that I must finally express and put in place some boundaries for myself. I'm proud of my work here. I can't stop being me, someone who cares, but I can explain what I need and that's apparently exactly what I need to do to develop interdependent skills.

When someone isn't sure who they are, they are susceptible to making up a personal identity and reality out of who they think they should be. I knew I wanted to be a mother and a wife, and I knew I loved to write and read; that I loved children and I trained as a teacher. However, my fantasy life was vivid, real in  a sense, and it became confused with my reality.

I love submission in the bedroom. I love to feel a helpmate. For example, on the whole, in the garden I'm happy for my husband to take the lead and I get to do what he lets me do. I follow his lead, offering suggestions that he takes up, or not. This is the way with us. It has always been this way. But, then I got into other things, honed down into darker fantasies, and it was confusing.

The challenge was to sort out the reality from the fantasy and this took a long time for reasons I'd prefer not to go into. Suffice to say that it is vital that a person sort out their reality from their fantasy in order to have a stable identity and to feel comfortable in their skin. 'Submissive' is difficult terminology because someone can so easily throw at you that you aren't submissive enough, as if that's a flaw. Watch that.

Finally, I had to learn how to identify my needs and my wants. I need intimacy.  Pia Mellody writes that 'children who are neglected and abandoned may grow up with issues of feeling needless/wantless.' I confused the two things, or I used the wants to deal with the lack in my life of my 'needs'. I have learned to go and ask for a hug, or to arrange to spend time together. I am learning how to do this and I am proud of that. This area still needs work.

In her book 'The Intimacy Factor' Pia writes on page 118, 'Without boundaries, there is no relationship. Without relationship there is no intimacy. Without intimacy there is no love, and without love the spiritual path is hidden from us. Boundaries create the experience of truth and respect in which love can grow. We recognize that our inherent worth cannot be taken away from us by the display of our authentic selves...Trauma work aims at identifying the abuse that first made us allergic to ourselves - to our flawed and imperfect humanity.'

All that to say that 2016 has for me been a year of extraordinary growth and vision. I can point to several wonderful successes in the family - my eldest son has become the youngest Director and Junior Partner of his company worldwide, and my youngest son has gained entry into the second year of the highly selective course he has set his sights on for several years, and I am very, very proud and happy for them - but I am also very proud of myself. I had to work extremely hard on myself this year to get the insight and vision into my own failings and the issues that held me back from happiness and peace. I look forward to my future and the future of all people. I do believe the best is yet to come.

May you all have a very happy and blessed Christmas. Please do think about inviting to your Christmas Day someone who may well not have somewhere to go. I have come across a good number of these people lately and it reminds me that 'family' includes anyone who needs a good dose of love and care.

Be well. With love.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Considering the future

We tend to have our own individual versions of how to make a better world. I think that relates to how we see the world and how we see ourselves. The more extroverted, global thinkers tend to take the political track. I don't dismiss that as a powerful course of funding for good quality day care, tax incentives for families, access to excellent education for all children and so on.

In my case, I continue to believe that it starts with the children, at the grassroots level. You can have all the policies in the world about children and for children but if they are neglected by their parents, you have a real problem. The simple fact is that parents need to spend time with their children, listening to them and talking to them. It is a basic and fundamental right of children that they have the attention of their parents and that they are given permission to be themselves and to be accepted as their authentic selves.

I spent the day with my daughter yesterday, a treat for me since she has a very busy life. Over lunch she talked of wanting a family soon. She's a teacher. She can neither afford, nor wants to give up her career completely, but having seen children in child care situations at school she doesn't really want that for her children. Most of the people at school with children of their own have grandparents involved with child care, she says.

'Well, I'm good for a day a week,' I told her.
'But, it's a long way to come,' she said.
'Well, I can manage. And, I wouldn't just stay at home. I'd take the child/children to the park or to a music group or to a movement class, or for a picnic, or to the library. We'd get out and do things; have experiences.'

You see, I don't like the thought of my young grandchildren in child minding situations either. If I have oodles of them, well, then I have to help  find the best child care, but I don't think I will have oddles of them and not all at once.

A step-brother of my husband has a 14 month old and last weekend I could have scooped him up a hundred times and smothered him in kisses; breathed in his scent. But, that's not how he wanted to interact with me, preferring to study me; to hold one of my fingers or gaze into my eyes, or hold my necklace. He wanted to be held and touched by his mother and his father, mostly.

 I'm just so darn ready to interact with a little being again, but I had to hold back. The older kids (6 and 4) wanted to chat and that's fun too. Funny how the 6 year old went to each person for something different. He's desperate for my older son to rouse him up; hold him upside down; scare him.

If kids experience neglect, for whatever reason, fantasy becomes more important to them than reality, because the brain does that; creates in some way a place where the need is fulfilled. Too much time alone as a child and the early opportunities to relate to people are taken away, making fantasy seem soothing; changing the way the mind feels and keeping the fantasy alive as a joyful and soothing experience.

This feeling about fantasy can be taken into adulthood making them vulnerable in their relationships. It's not at all a good outcome and what we don't want as a society is a society of adults who are trying to overcome the neglect of their childhood. People wonder about the 'bout' of narcissism these days, but it didn't just arrive out of nowhere.

It's strange too how some people think being there is parenting when what parenting really is is being present for the child in a mindful way. Like, stop what you are doing and listen; really listen. That is important to do at any age. That's the best present you can give: your time.

In my opinion the damage of early neglect has far more palpable repercussions than anything else. I don't dismiss the danger of a narcissistic, self-involved President, or of a culture that praises possession over the more meaningful aspects of life. However, there are billions of people in the world who come into the world individually, dependent on those who brought them into the world. The real power lies in individuals taking that responsibity very seriously.

Imagine if we put the focus on the children. Imagine the world then.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Receiving and giving love

My experience at the meditation retreat was profound and I've found myself wanting to build on it. I've been quietly mining that experience looking for personal answers, sometimes patiently allowing clarity to rise up and sometimes trying to force revelations by focusing in on them.

In effect the meditation retreat was a sort of  'running away' experience. To put it another way, I was doing a 'geographical'. As my 60th year of life approached, my 60th birthday stood out to me as one day I wanted to completely avoid. When I looked at the dates of the retreat and discovered the final day was the day I turned 60, the deal was sealed. I filled in my registration and sent off my deposit.
I was to be travelling to the retreat with a friend and I mentioned to her the fact that I would be turning 60 on the final day.  She tucked it behind her ear.

The first sleep of my 60th year was not a good one. I woke at 3 am restless and it came into my consciousness that the day had arrived. I managed to get back to sleep but a half hour or so before the morning gong sounded alerting us to the fact that we had to get ready for the morning meditation I woke from a dreadful nightmare. It was a traumatic and confusing dream wherein there was some psychotic man running about causing havoc whilst at the same time I was somehow looking after a young child (who happened to have abilities beyond its age) and trying to keep it safe. Somehow, in all the mayhem and chaos the man was causing I lost the child.

It was at this moment I woke up. I lay there, tired, and bit by bit the details of the nightmare came back to me. It sunk in that I had lost a child for which I was responsible. It was then that I began to cry; soft, woeful, tragic tears for a child that didn't exist. It wasn't the greatest start to the day but I became conscious of birds singing outside my bedroom window and it brought me back to the physical moment. I got up and showered and dressed and made myself pretty. That's a defence you know; a defence against any slings and arrows of the emotional kind that might come my way on this day I'd rather pretend wasn't happening.

There was a knock on my door and when I opened it there was my friend holding a paper plate on which sat  a large golden kiwifruit and a skewer through it with little white tags attached to it with messages written on the tags wishing me a happy birthday. The darling girl had improvised. Without a candle or a cake she'd used what she had. We were supposed to be in silence, but I giggled. She'd made me so happy. I wasn't sure about golden kiwifruit at the time; had been ignoring them, but she insisted I eat it right there and then and I quickly discovered the golden kiwifruit are absolutely delicious. I buy them now all the time. (They are great for preventing bowel cancer by the way.)

The morning meditation was lovely but  at the conclusion of it my friend who led the final morning meditation couldn't resist informing the group that I had just turned 60. They all gave me silent hugs, a little hand gesture we learned earlier in the week. I took in the love. It wasn't easy - I was shy -  but I took it in. I was learning. I was growing. I was healing. At breakfast people silently came up to me and hugged me and it effected me deeply that these people who were strangers to me a few days ago and I were now quite closely connected. It was more lovely than I can say to be in silence but to take in love.

It was a very profound final morning, for all of us. We all spoke and it was clear we were all moved by the experiences of the week. I never have, and I may never again, be in such a stirring experience. We had shared vulnerability and loss together and in the bearing of those sadnesses, we'd bonded as a group.

Our final meal together before the bus would wisk me away to the airport, so that I'd be home to my family for the evening, was lunch. I was finishing off a plate of salad when I saw from the corner of my left eye a woman carrying a huge cake with candles approaching me. Everyone was suddenly huddled around me singing me 'Happy Birthday'. It was such a shock, so unexpected, that when they stopped singing I simply couldn't find words. They smiled and giggled a little. 'Thank you everyone,' I finally managed, 'from the bottom of my heart. I will remember this moment for a very long time.' And, I certainly will.

The bus carried me away shortly thereafter with a group of lovely girls, and I was fine. Happy. At the airport, alone, I checked my phone to discover these amazing messages from my children, how I was the best thing since sliced bread yadda yadda, and that's when I completely fell apart. The emotions of the week but particularly the day had toppled me over. I sat and cried. My makeup dissolved. No-one approached me, probably too frightened at watching a woman emotionally collapse before their eyes. I put  myself together in the bathroom such that the kind gentleman that sat beside me in the plane back to Australia thought, hopefully, that I was relatively normal.

I could go on and on but let's get to the moral of the story. The most important lesson of the retreat for me was that I have trouble receiving love. Although I hold a great deal of love in my heart and express it in all sorts of ways to others, I am, I think, so frightened of not receiving love back and wondering if I'll survive that, that I shield myself from love.

On my 60th birthday I let love in. I let people love me and it felt great.

There's a theory that I'm still trying to digest that says that people like me who have trouble letting people love them are attracted to people who have the same difficulty, and that they are attracted to you. The dance gets going and never stops until or if somehow the cycle is broken.

The experts on this stuff say that healing starts when you can love yourself, embrace yourself - no longer giving without receiving, or receiving without giving.

First comes the awareness; second the putting into practice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The power of the mind

There was a little kernel of truth that was discussed briefly at the retreat and it has stayed with me. The man who lead the retreat, a name well known to Australians, made the comment that "the mind focuses on what has the most energy". If you are told 'don't think of a white horse', what do you do? Well, try as you might not to think about a white horse, your mind goes to the image of a white horse. The mind "takes the target".

If you say to  a child "don't jump in the puddle", the idea of jumping in the puddle becomes irresistible. The woman at the retreat whom I referred to as Rachel in a previous post said to me that she tried this with a friend whilst out walking. They were crossing a  shallow pool of water via a log and once across she turned back to her friend and called out, 'Don't fall in!'. Right on cue, the friend fell off the log and into the water.

So, the message is don't talk to people about what not to do but rather give them a positive direction. If a friend  or loved one is obsessing about a person who no longer wants to be in their life, the message is not to tell them to 'stop thinking about him/her' but rather to think about something else.

In the same vein, there isn't much positivity in thinking about what you don't have, or can't have, but much positivity to be had in finding a new direction or focus or interest. As someone who likes all her important relationships to be 'tickety-boo' and who feels held back when they are not in good order, I find it helpful to focus on something else and often times, that's my relationship with myself.

King writes about the power of the mind and how focused thought can get you where you want to go. I recommend you read the article for a full understanding but let's focus on this thought late in that article, that "The real power of focused thought comes from the amount of emotional and physical energy it generates."

When I feel a little removed from the love in my life, even knowing on a rational level that there is an abundance of it, I take myself to my cushion in order that I may explore that emotion. What word would I use to explain this feeling to myself? Hmmm, perhaps 'lonely', or 'isolated' or 'distanced' or 'frustrated' or 'confused'. I don't deny this feeling(s). I go straight into the feeling and I feel it intensely; deeply. This little exercise often lifts the feeling and transforms it to something else. I mean, it's a silly thought. I'm loved, I'm really quite sure of it, and I love, without question. Sometimes, it is vexed and troubled in my mind, but the love exists regardless of the state of it at that moment when I experience some sort of disturbance in the flow of it, either way.

There is a little trick to experiencing the state of bliss that I discovered one Friday night several years now. At the time I was attending a meditation/discussion gathering of people on a Friday evening. We'd talk about some philosophical issue or other and we'd have a couple of short, say, 20 minute meditations. I can't remember what led me into this meditation but I found my mind surveying the important people in my life. As I surveyed them, that is, looked on them from afar, as if I was in heaven and had some sort of vehicle to get from one to the other, I felt this very deep wave of love for them wash over my whole body. I was awash in feelings of love going both ways, from me and to me, and as these feelings gathered I found I had collected an enormous pile of love. My cup runneth over and tears gushed down my face, some landing on my neck and shirt. I had, without direction, hit onto the state of bliss.

We talked about bliss at the retreat and the man leading the discussion, let's call him Ewan, said one day, 'You don't want to get stuck in bliss'. Of course, we were far too devoted disciplines to question this, but his wife, a devotee to be sure but not at all afraid to question him, said, 'Well, Ewan, I can think of worse place to get stuck!' and of course, we all laughed. ''

Of course, bliss is a sort of thinking state. This is what he meant. I conjured this state with my imagination, or with my thinking mind. Still, it is indeed a wonderful state, and I'd recommend it to those who are struggling with relationships at any point of time. There is a fabulous surge of 'feel good' feelings that light up the whole body and remind us how good it is to be alive and how lucky we are to have certain people in our lives.

When the focus is on 'that loving feeling' so many other complicated thoughts tend to lose their oxygen. Empathy flows. Those matters that disconnect from others become much less important in the moment and for some time thereafter.

It's not Thanksgiving here but rather that period of time when the weather is in flux and causing no small amount of trouble - earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, and high pollen counts in Melbourne causing serious and sudden bouts of  severe hayfever and asthma. Still, I am aware that most readers of this blog are Americans and I therefore wish you a happy Thanksgiving Day, a favourite day of the year when I lived there with my young family.

I found myself ranting last evening after I had watched the news. This is unlike me, but news of Trump tends to makes my bile rise and then I find myself angry. I guess we shouldn't be shocked at Trump's behaviour any more. What you see is what you get. I don't know why we were ever confused about that. Comedians and satirists generally now admit that thinking about him in any other way was not helpful. Why I was surprised he called the media to task in a meeting and openly complained about any reports against him I just don't know, except it is a new one on me in a democratic country such as the United States that has accepted free speech for quite some time. Thanksgiving conversation, if based around such topics could be tough if there are disparate views at hand. It is not likely to be easy. May feelings of love towards those in the room be your guide as to how the day goes. Focus your mind on what you want to achieve at the end of the day. Give it your best shot.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Clarity of thought

An event occurred yesterday with my husband; something that was intended to be uplifting and positive but unfortunately did not have a positive ending. Intuitively, I knew to remain very quiet all day. I am certain that no-one had the vaguest idea that anything might be wrong with me. They were busy doing their thing and I was busy keeping myself busy. In fact, I was quite productive throughout the day and intent on not being upset, if that makes sense.

I'm not so good at this ethereal/philosophical/Buddhist/spiritual thing that I can repair the event in my mind and end up with an immediate 'everything is as it should be' sort of outcome, but at the same time I didn't say a word about it, to anyone, and nor did I write anything. I recognized that I needed time to process what had happened before I could even think of taking any action, or making any comment, or even just thinking about it in any sort of clear way.

The mind is as the mind is, and thus I had running through it all sorts of thoughts. I've come to a place where I completely understand and accept that we are not our thoughts - that thoughts and emotions come and go, and that we are the awareness behind all of that. In my flawed human way I noticed the thoughts, the tendency to see this event as catastrophic, but I simply noticed that. I had that quiet curiosity about the thoughts, of these invasions of my peace of mind. In other words, turbulent feelings, emotions and thoughts remained but I had a reasonable handle on them.

While I was on the retreat I got into several quite deep and meaningful conversations with a woman we shall call Rachel. She told me her life story and it's one of the most fascinating explanations I have ever heard of the reasons behind a person becoming a psychiatrist. I got to like her, a lot, and respected her as someone who had way more experience than me in these matters. 'I'm tired of Tolle,' she declared to me one day. I thought about it. 'Well Eckhart is a good place to start,' I suggested. I actually don't think Eckhart Tolle ever gets old and he helped me a lot yesterday. Here's what I read:

‘Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender…
To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This stage is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms tend to improve greatly.’
- Eckart Tolle, The Power of Now.

This passage was a poignant reminder to me that we must not resist our emotions. I was...upset. When I am not sure how I am feeling about something, maybe angry, maybe sad, maybe disheartened, I tend to use the word 'upset'. My mind and my body are upset, not at peace. This, for me, is good enough of a description. This was the truth and undeniable.

The passage reminded me too that I hold myself to high standards. I don't want to be 'upset' and it's upsetting when I am upset. I'm mad with myself. Why can't I get a grip so that I don't experience upset? But Tolle's wise words reminded me that I experience what I experience and that's okay.

It's the next bit of the statement that is really profound - that the moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace is transmuted into peace. This worked on two levels:

When I read this I sat with my non-peace state. I breathed into it, focused on my breathing pattern and within that simple process I could feel my non-peace state to turn into a more peaceful state - a recognition that I would not always be in peace, that it was unrealistic to expect it to be so, but that at my disposal was enough wisdom to see that the non-peace was fleeting...that in my humanness and he in his humanness, we had ended up with an outcome that was...upsetting.

It wasn't the end of the world, or the product of a failed relationship, but simply the product of a failure to communicate. It wasn't as complex a problem as it seemed, but rather a quite simple one. No, we were not ideally suited to one another from a sexuality perspective, but neither were we as far apart as it seemed in the moment. Some skills needed to be honed, for sure, and we needed to devise a way for me to express what was happening to me in a heavy bondage scene, but all of that was surmountable. It didn't all spell the doom and gloom that some of the uninvited thoughts suggested.

Some day when the time is right I will share the three elements required for a successful life, as presented to us at the retreat. I am still reflecting on them myself. But, I think the first is now very obvious to me. To have a successful life one must have clarity of thought. Meditation is a bit like various experiences within a power exchange relationship. I can't really explain those experiences, although I do try on these pages. One learns about them within the experience. Meditation is like this. Alone with one's mind on a regular basis, clarity of thought begins to rule one's life. A still and calm mind speaks it's own language.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Finding peace in an emotional, changing world

When I arrived at the meditation retreat I had no idea what to expect, none at all. My friend had told me of the magic of the location and how wonderful it all was and I went with her on the strength of that. In fact, it was hard work; not just for me but for all of us. By day 3 we were all exhausted. It must have showed because by the evening of the third day the announcement was made that we didn't have to stay for the evening teachings and meditation if we didn't want to. We could go to bed early. Half the big room evaporated of participants. We were dealing with a new diet - no sugar, no animal products (no meat, fish or dairy products); no caffeine and alcohol; early morning rising; hours of meditation and remaining in the meditative pose and, last but not least, the contemplations.

Contemplations can occur in the meditation process. One can be asked, as we were, a series of questions to contemplate, or one can ask oneself a question alone in meditation and ponder on it. In these contemplations we were asked to delve into our strengths and weaknesses. This occurred over several days and in this process I identified that the weakness I most wanted to work on was the feeling that my emotions were out of my control. I didn't and don't like this feeling and I wanted that sort of emotionality to go away.

I think my emotionality springs from anxiety that has been my companion for most of my life. It's a combination thing: fear of something happening to my loved ones; fear of failure; fear of abandonment or to put it another way, fear of not being loved and of being needed.

In an ideal world an anxious sort of person has at least someone in their lives who can settle them down. I remember one day running around like a chook with its head off, collecting my son and anxiously wanting to get home. My son asked, 'What's wrong Mum. You sounded stressed on the phone.' 'Well, suddenly there are four extra people coming for dinner that I didn't know about and I don't know what time I am going to be able to serve the meal.' 'Mum, he said, 'It's the holidays. They don't care what time they eat. Don't make it more than it is.' That's stayed with me. 'Don't make it more than it is' and I often settle myself down simply by saying that phrase out loud.

Some people are more anxious than others and their anxiety is expressed through words; lots and lots of loud words that often end up upsetting those around them. My husband emotes and it's my goal and challenge to not allow that emotionality to infect me. I try, through meditation, to allow his upset to be there without labelling it. I recognize that it comes from within him and I remind myself that I am not responsible for his inner thoughts and feelings, only my own. Naturally, I aim to soothe him and to be sensitive to his sensitivities, but at the end of the day, I am not responsible for his inner thoughts and feelings and nor for the choices he makes. I am only responsible for my own thoughts and feelings, for my own choices. We are all only responsible for our own inner lives. Attempting to change someone else is ambitious and unrealistic. Changing yourself is challenge enough.

In the process of the week at the meditation retreat, I settled. The truth is there were a lot of tears, but I settled. I developed 'acceptance' and I work on this every single day now. I meditate. And, I accept each day as it is. It is what it is without me needing to invest my emotions; without judging or catastrophizing. At least, that's the goal.

Yesterday, I took my mother to see the neurologist. I had taken her to the doctor with my suspicions and he wanted to wait. I looked him dead in the eye. 'My mother is 84 with Parkinson like symptoms. What are we waiting for?' He said not a word but turned to write the referral. The neurologist was a lovely man, gentle and kind with my mother and he confirmed the situation. This dear woman who has for 25 years lived out her life alone and without her loving and loved husband, will need to rely on others more now; to accept that life will be different. I speak softly to her. I repeat over and over the same things until she feels more sure. She is fearful. Of course. I try not to be fearful for her. We will face this, step by step and in a positive manner.

There is a little trick in meditation. You breathe in as if it is your last breath and you hold it. If you don't breathe out, well, that's death. And so, in life, we can have a little taste of death, and it's not really all that bad, the still and empty mind.

If we can let go for a time of fear and even of hope, we can live in this moment. This moment will turn into the next moment. Emotions will come and go. The clouds will roll on through like thoughts of  the mind. Underneath is the blue sky. The blue sky is always underneath. That's our still mind. That's our natural mind. In this way, peace is available to us. Peace lives within us. I strive for peace.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Meditation Retreat - ponderings

The week long meditation retreat recalibrated me, body, mind and soul. It was a very emotional time for me. I cried on a number of occasions, uncontrollable tears pouring down my face, but that happens to me sometimes when I meditate, or am awed, so it wasn't entirely unexpected. I would never have thought it was possible to bond with 25 strangers as I did; to feel wrapped and protected in the arms and affection of people whom I had known for simply a few days, but that is exactly what happened. I am not ready to put it into words, that joyous experience up on that mountain.

To give some sense of it at this time I will share that we spent much of the time in silence. The Tibetan gong, we knew in advance, would be played at 7.15 am and by 7.45 am we needed to be on our cushions (or prayer stools or chairs) ready to meditate together. Since the walls were paper thin in the rooms in which we slept we waited for the gong before we turned on showers. Well, my friend in the room beside me who worked at the retreat as a psychotherapist showered before that, but that's another story.

Breakfast of a lacto-vegetarian kind came after that and we gathered our food in silence. We ate in silence. We prepared for the morning teachings and the meditations session after that in silence. We ate lunch in silence. It was not until afternoon tea that we were given permission to talk and that's when we got to know one another, not so much at afternoon tea which was not a particularly leisurely time and occurred prior to evening teachings, but over dinner.

Really, where we got to know one another was in the teaching sessions when everyone bravely shared their innermost thoughts and showed their true selves. There was very little talking - we were encouraged to make notes as prompted - but what talking did occur was the sharing of key words brought up from within ourselves - our strengths, our weaknesses, our hopes and our fears. We went to dark places before we quite naturally reached up to the light.

I doubt I need to say to anyone who has done the scantest reading of this blog that I luxuriated in the silence. This being the fourth day home, it comes as the understatement of the year to say that I miss it. People speak too many words. The world makes far too much noise.

To counteract this mental upheaval of leaving behind the world of the retreat I begin my day on my cushion. The days are not my own - not yet - but if I begin the day on my cushion I can enter the stillness of the still mind in the early morning, before the household has woken up, and this settles and soothes me for a day in the real world of words, bustle, opinion and ego.

If you don't believe in the power of psychotherapy then think again. I had three group psychotherapy sessions with the goal of motivation for daily meditation and so far every day I wake with the script running in my head, 'You have an irresistible desire to go to your cushion'. Indeed, I do.

I'm a lucky gal to have come across a man who has been taught by the highest spiritual leaders of this world the portals into the stillness of the natural mind. The opportunity to share time with him, and for him to be at the place in his life where he is ready to reveal that knowledge to those ready to hear it is the greatest gift I could ever have been given. Having been offered a glimpse into the power of the still mind, I will pursue my practice with vigor.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Embracing new challenges

Having the nature that I do, travelling alone with my husband is what I most like to do. Time alone with him in Japan was complete bliss for me, because whilst I don't mind making the odd observation - 'that looks like a lovely place to have lunch' - I am perfectly happy to be led about the country. Sincerely, this was pure happiness for me and I didn't need anything - a most spiritual experience!

Tomorrow, I am about to embark on a purely different spiritual experience; one with much more personal challenge, for me anyway. I fly off to a retreat where I find myself, whether I like it or not, immersed in a meditative experience and learning about a much deeper meditative experience than I have known so far. I'm anticipating some moments of wonder and some moments of absolute and terrifying challenge.

Most people, day by day, don't think all that much about what they eat. I do more than most due to food intolerances that came into my life in the past few years. But, I'm not a 'lacto-vegetarian'. At this retreat there will be no wine, no caffeine, no meat or fish, no dairy, no sugar (except honey). I enter the programme relatively prepared. I've cut down on wine, having my last glass with my husband in the city yesterday as a sort of 'goodbye' lunch. I haven't had caffeine in a week and have got through the headache-y, agitated period that goes with that. I don't eat dairy and  with a vegetarian in the household I can live on a vegan diet relatively happily. I keep my sugar consumption very low, since sugary foods tend to lead to consequences for me, but I don't have a pure no sugar diet. (I'm currently eating a piece of gluten free toast covered in jam as a last hoorah to sugar.) I'll pack some ginseng tea (the only non caffeine tea I actually enjoy over the long haul) and a block of 85% dark chocolate so that if push comes to shove, I'll have something to fall back on. Still, it's a change and a challenge.

Unless the single room comes through, and I suspect they are just playing me along, I'll be sleeping in a room with other people.  For someone who needs private time every single day this is going to be perhaps my greatest challenge, acting like I am enjoying their company in my private space.

The programme itself has its special requirements - up for a 7 am first meditation of the day before breakfast. And, it goes on and on from there. I believe that discussions ensue after dinner that last until about 9.50 pm - 9.30 pm officially, but I'm told that people often can't pull themselves away. For a girl that always has an exit plan out of social occasions - 'I really must get home to the dog and feed her' - it's all quite,quite challenging.

Still, I'm excited! There is no doubt about it. When I discovered the world of D/s and submitting to the will of another, I could not have been more excited. Well, look at that, mid way into my life I had discovered the key to Pandora's Box, a host of fun and thrills; something so very much more exciting than parties or cocktail parties or the usual fun of reality as it had been presented to me.

Then, over time, the spiritual side of life called me. It was a brilliant discovery to learn that I had control over my own mind whenever I wanted. I learnt that I could turn a negative thought into a positive thought; that gratitude, positivity and an increase in empathic responses - a recognition that we are all connected regardless of religion, race or gender - made a significant difference to the quality of my life and those who shared my life. I found myself, mostly, able to notice my thoughts and to understand what may have triggered a feeling of rejection or abandonment. I learnt to see feelings as not mine - my soul -  but rather that feelings would come and go. Only the quiet and stillness within me remained constant. My favourite thought right now is this - that when the soul and the mind are at one, then there is happiness and peace. It's so very true.

Of course, it would be absurd to suggest that I have an A+ in all of this new material. I get anxious. I worry. I can stress out.  I can fear. I'm with Brene Brown  and those folks that connect fear to all negative emotions. Addiction is fear. Overeating is fear. Anxiety is fear. I am still a person who fears some of the time. Hence, the meditation retreat. I want to go further on this quest for personal knowledge.

In the D/s side of my life, I discovered that certain strategies enhance my life; free me from the everyday world which can sometimes get me down. It will be interesting to see if any questions are asked at the airport about the nipple tags and the heavy plug that are both important parts of my person and must make the journey with me. Certain things in life became as integral to my day as brushing my teeth or eating a meal - a meditation cushion, yoga stretches, pluggiz. These are permanent changes just as I aim for a calm mindset, for a non-anxious mind to be a permanent change. Coming back a little thinner is a given. Hopefully, I will also be so serene, I'll shine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Moving away from loneliness

Loneliness is a concept I am often mulling over, in one shape or another. I'm currently read Olivia Laing's The Lonely City and am reminded that loneliness is an experience that we all share at certain moments, and not necessarily when we are alone. Sex is important to us because it can, for those moments, bridge the divide between us. Laing writes, 'That's the dream of sex, isn't it? That you will be liberated from the prison of the body by the body itself, at long last desired, its strange tongue understood.'

Her comment made me put the book down and stare into the abyss. Perhaps this is what had happened to me. It's not enough for me to be in close touch to my husband, side by side in bed, or him stroking me softly, or even making love to me in a tender way. Bit by bit, without feeling some force, I can start to feel my psyche break down. This break down of psyche oozes out; a change in tone; a comment lacking complete respect. He picks me up on it. He makes it clear, a very stern rebuke, that I have gone too far. And, when I am being chided in this way for feeling alone in my body, even though he doesn't know that, I can't apologize, which only makes the matter far, far worse.

On Saturday morning, I broke down. I mean I really felt that I was losing my mind. I certainly didn't look myself. 'I feel mad' I said to him, and I meant that I felt that my brain had lost its power to function in a normal way. 'I hate to see you this way,' he said to me, and we made up, but the energy remained fairly low until late in the afternoon, he took me into the bedroom, tore off my clothes except for my socks and walking shoes (I was in walking clothes) which I rather liked. He spanked me, hard, such that I couldn't catch my breath. I can't remember everything but he kept talking to me, roughly, had me on my fours, fucked me from behind...and I found myself waiting for some alteration of mood...didn't know which way it would go...until he finally released me...and I realized I had been healed, much as a person with a chronic mental health condition is immediately freed of distress by shock therapy. Evidently, my body needs  to feel force for my mind to be relaxed and at peace; no longer lonely. It is what it is.

On Monday, I watched the second Presidential debate and noticed that I was feeling sick. There was something about the spectacle of Trump acting in such undignified ways that upset me right down to my stomach. It signalled the end of civility in some way, that he could act in this way and that millions of people living in the West could think that's okay. And then, right away, I had to leave for an appointment with my son and he told me something that was a shock, a situation that required my instant input. It's rectified now but for 24 hours the two of us were troubled by it. The world, my world, it felt, can change in an instant.

And then a friend called, someone who has been living overseas and now returned, was looking for a chat, and it occurred to me in the midst of that conversation in which I was fully involved, that I felt desperately lonely. This woman who I have known for 50+ years knows so very little of me. Such 'friendships' are lonely places really.

I remember saying to my husband in the midst of my despair on Saturday morning, 'Do you think a gay person or a kinky person asks for this? Do you think we put in an order and request to be different?' I am different, different to the people around me. But, then we all are, as a matter of fact. We are all on our own islands and the business of living is to find the bridge over to another person; to relate, to connect, to love completely and to accept unconditionally. It is, perhaps, why the Donald made me ill. Such politics as his can only separate us further and it's the reason why, ultimately, he has been rejected. We very much want to find those bridges to others and away from the loneliness of our own bodies and minds.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Loving, differently

Since I have had my nipples pierced it has occurred to me that my cravings for a sense of containment and of belonging relate to a physical need. If I have enough physical sensations I am automatically satisfied and satiated. That is, I can't establish adequate satisfying feelings from any particular thought alone. A positive thought begets more positive thoughts. I can manifest the thought that I do, in fact, belong, and that's a good thought. However, there is no positive thought that means that I can overcome a lack of physical sensation. The physicality is confirmation of the ownership that I feel on my skin or in my body.

But, even the above statements are 'thoughts' or 'ideas' that require some logic or explanation that goes beyond, intellectualizes, an innate and natural sense of things to which most women of a submissive mindset would relate. It's not unheard of for some very submissively inclined women to reject spankings, pain/pleasure applied to the skin, but so many of them, as far as I can tell, love/hate the physical force of a spanking, given simply because they exist or because it is a form of correction, or both.

It's not just that the event relates to the agreement between the two of you, important as that is. It's that there is something about working one's way through a spanking, the challenge of it, that induces some sort of happy hormone to flood the mind of a submissively inclined person. It's as if the body needs to get out of its comfort zone and feel a little pain. It is as if a submissive's mind and body needs pain to be felt on the skin, not just for the reminder of being alive, but to suck the juice out of life; to feel buoyant and energized.

I have to think that only a natural Dominant really understands this. To the mainstream person, pain is pain and to be avoided. I don't like pain any more than the next person, the stubbing of a toe, or a pain in the gut. Yet, the laying on of pain in a spanking, carefully managed to take me up to my pain tolerance and then a good bit beyond it, is a gift; a rare gift; too rare.

I think this is where non-kinky men with kinky wives may lose their way because to ignore or avoid their woman's craving for receiving pain is to avoid giving them the gift of pain; the gift of effervescence; of feeling at peace within themselves. There's a sizzle in the air between two people, one who wants to give pain, and one who wants/craves to receive it. Whatever challenges lie within the process, there's a sense of accomplishment and 'flying' that can't be got in any other way. I remember once being left with the feeling that I was in love with the whole world after a spanking. I wouldn't trade those feelings and sensations for anything. There's an exchange of energy worth gold to both individuals and the union of those individuals.

I know, I don't just think but I know that I would have been well matched with a man who had a kinky, dominant and sadistic mindset. The proviso is that I would have needed to know that he adored me and would protect me to the ends of this earth. Given that situation, I would have accompanied him through life providing for his demands. I would not have been with a man who wasn't somewhat patient with me, but I feel in my bones that I would have accommodated his requests, feeding me as he would his own desires such that they became my own.

Of course, I am talking about the perfect Dominant; smart, patient, sensible, challenging. Someone who enjoyed the long game; someone strict and sure of himself; someone in whom I could melt and feel safe and assured. Imagine the utter thrill of having a sensual and sexual guide through your life; thinking, planning and scheming for your mutual kinky thrills! It's the stuff of dreams. Well, my dreams, anyway.

Of course, it has long and often been chronicled here that I met my husband, whom I love very much, long before I admitted to myself and to him just how kinky I really was. I can't expect him to lead me into the land of kink when it is not the land of his dreams and thoughts. But, even if the gift of pain is a rare gift, we all get gifts sometimes and often they are well researched.  A man wouldn't buy his woman a diamond ring without gathering some information and the gift of pain is no different. Anyone can perform a spanking once the procedure has been researched, just as one researches the best way to fix a tap or to build a deck. If you want to know how to do anything, the information is there. It is hardly an impossibility for any person. But, there must be intention and commitment; an understanding of the importance of the thing.

It has been proven countless times that I like to feel some force behind the words and/or actions of the Other. I want to be surprised/overcome/not provided with a way out. I want to feel the commitment of the other, their intention; their power in the relationship; their authority. That is all it takes. From there, there are no mistakes. Who is the leader of the pack? Who calls the shots? Who has deemed it the right time to receive pain, to have my nipples pierced, my cunt pierced; a tattoo? Well, the person who loves me the most, of course. Thy will be done. When the love and the commitment are there, I don't see much to stand in the way, just as one moves country for love, or has another child for love, or forgives and forgets for love.

The one disappointment to me in being alive at this time is that I don't think that future generations will have the barriers to get through that women like me have now, and have had in the past. People now confidently explain they are gay or transgender. They cross-dress and state it. They are proud of who they are, and yet, non-kinky people can still struggle so earnestly and profoundly with the notion that their needs and desires are 'weird'. But, to love in a kinky way is still to love;  to love differently.

Of course, we all need to be our authentic selves. I respect that. Still, I live in hope that people born and brought up to be conservative in disposition can come to understand that people like me can be accommodated without breaking any laws of nature. I want to be loved like any woman, just differently.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The importance of pierced nipples, to me

What I've done in the recent past is give myself too much credit. Knowing myself well, I thought that I was capable, if only I tried hard enough to forego my sexuality, to simply park it, and in this way there would be harmony and equanimity in my life. After all, I'd managed to dig deep and find copious patience and tolerance, to put aside other dreams of mine, so why not consider me the problem, dig deeper, research more about what was wrong with me, and simply alter myself to be more in line with the sexuality of the other.

It turns out altering one's sexuality is not just a matter of putting one's mind to it. My arousal, or not, isn't something that I can fake. I can't simply decide to be a vanilla woman, someone who is not aroused by sado-masochistic stimuli. It's an enigma when one's partner's arousal isn't exactly compatible. Long before I began writing in this online journal I blamed myself for my (non-mainstream) arousal, my secret thoughts and my desires. I was the odd person out here, not him. These past months have been a return to that self-flagellation.

My dismissal of this stance occurred over several key moments in time. I was accused by someone who knows me well of "kink shaming" and I told him that it was an absurd comment and a particularly hurtful thing to say to me. But, over the next few days I began to see that he was right in the sense that I was making kinkiness out to be a major 'problem' and something unnatural. I was naturally kinky. In shaming myself by having kinks I was shaming kink. My argument and thinking was flawed in some fundamental ways.  I had got into my head that I could kick kink much as someone kicks alcohol or caffeine or sugar or drugs; by withdrawal. Let's face it. I had tried that over a couple of decades in my twenties and thirties and managed to do nothing but grow the kink.

To celebrate this new liberated view of myself I took myself to the city and had my nipples pierced, something that has been on my bucket list for a long, long time. I needed a physical manifestation and transformation; a moment by moment reminder of my true nature. I wrote a long post about the experience but decided in the end that I wanted to keep the experience close to my heart. I think it is enough to say that all elements of the experience reconfirmed for me that I am who I am, and my body now signified that in a way that is meaningful to me.

There is a big difference between dominating and being domineering with a woman. I am well aware of the difference and what makes me happy. In embracing my kinkiness I acknowledge my willingness and enjoyment to submit to the domination of my submissive, masochistic and kinky sexual nature at the same time as I recognize that domineering behaviour will always been seen for what that is. A submissive woman still has dreams and plans of her own.

If I ever have a desire to write in a way that has me rejecting a part of me that is so intrinsic to me, I will be very disappointed with myself. I'm too old for this self-flagellation and attempts at sacrifice. Whatever the circumstances of my life, I remain as I am and I've the nipple rings to prove it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


It's happened a few times recently. I can be going along very nicely, content, when I am thrown off course. When I recover, it's hard to remember or to explain the unsettled state, or to answer why it might have happened a couple of times in recent months. Of course, I do have some ideas; a lack of opportunity for self expression springs to mind.

I think of it as a containment issue. For decades I've been fundamentally serene in my presentation and then there's a 'blow out'. No one knows when to expect it, certainly not me. It's as if pressure has built up in the valve and the pressure must be released. It can no longer be contained.

Two thoughts about that. Scrolling through my tumblr feed I came across some words of wisdom about my husband's star sign. The advice was spot on: to be gentle and listen; to provide empathy and understanding. Never to try to change, or to think that you could control because that was never going to happen. I think the 'blow outs' relate to that; the sheer frustration of that. And then, I realize the situation and return to my bubble; my state and place of acceptance.

Second point: that there has been a permanent change in my state of mind over the past several years and nothing feels better or more natural to me than containment. It's something I organize and maintain myself, in ways, and thus there's a requirement on me to be consistent and committed. In other words what really matters in my life is that in spite of the support that may, or may not, be available to me, its my acceptance of what works for me that is at the heart of the containment and serenity.

Blow outs hit me like a tsunami and are just as torrid and destructive, from an emotional point of view. They toss me about like a bit of board and then leave me flattened and broken on the ground. It's a destructive energy force that must work it's way through me before it blows out.

Maybe a lion in a cage might feel like this sometimes; growling at the edges of the cage; never completely used to the enclosure. That's not quite right because 95% of the time I love that enclosure and wouldn't replace it for a boundless grassy meadow on any account. But, then there's the 5% of the time when my sensibilities can be rocked by the slightest word out of place. I guess that 5% of the time is building up over time, but it doesn't feel that way at all. Rather, it feels like an instant discombobulation that hits out of nowhere and dies down in an equally random way when the energy supply has run out.

Of course, in the thick of it, I've no idea that it will end at all. I don't know that it is not permanent; that it is a freak storm with an end. A freak storm or a frustration fit? These incidents have this in common for sure: a feeling of frustration that I've no ability to effect change; that I'm caught; that I am who I am and need what I need; that I am forever uniquely me; not an easy thing to reconcile.

I think, over years and years, others get to see that this will happen from time to time and that the kindest thing to do is to provide the wall on which I may bash my head until it hurts enough for me to realize that it is in fact a brick wall. There is next to no chance of brick walls tumbling down or changing their form. There's no negotiation with a brick wall. There's no civil conversation to be had with a brick wall.

And so, spent, I sit. I sit very quietly and realize that freedom, that girlhood, isn't what I wanted after all. It doesn't suit me. I don't wear it well. Rather, it wears me and that's not a good look.

The moment I accept that containment is my lot there's a little smile that forms in the corners of my mouth. Thank the Lord for brick walls, I think; for the resolve of the brick wall; the strength and non-negotiability of a brick wall.

It's a love/hate thing. I can feel that I have the nouse, the creativity, the vision to enlarge my world and the world generally. The ego is intact. Yet, the forces of my world, from every visible corner don't see it that way. It's not for me, they say. It's not my fate; not the way I was designed. A tiger is a tiger. A bird is a bird. It's not right to pretend that I'm something I'm not, I'm told.

I shine. I shine in my own way. I'm happy, in my own way. This is the way it is. This is the way it was ordained from the outset. It is what it is.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Why stories matter

My reading and thinking lately has explored that which is common to us all - that our experiences in childhood  lead us to behave in certain maladaptive ways in adulthood. Alain de Botton's 'The Course of Love' explores this in novel form, though for many readers the philosophy was too preachy and/or interrupted the text in a way that was not to their liking. Don't let that put you off. There is enlightening material there and characters with specificity, even if de Botton's inclination is to 'tell us' rather than 'show us'.

Tim Parks' 'Tom and Mary: A Love Story' explores the breakdown of a marriage in what I call true novel form, and how one thing leads to the other. Small incremental missteps or misunderstandings eventually makes for the disintegration of the union. "If he is going to work all night, I may as well go to bed" thinks Mary. Mary takes the dog out for a late walk. "I may as well go to bed," thinks Thomas and by the time she joins him he is "sound asleep, face to the wall." And so it goes on every night, harder and harder to break the cycle.

The truth is that there are precious few happy long marriages in novels. It could be argued that a happy marriage makes for boring reading but fascinating, I think, that so few novelists have even attempted this scenario; quite the opposite in fact. Romances don't count because most romances end with the marriage ceremony itself or some early part of the union. I'm talking about a marriage going the distance and being fundamentally happy. That doesn't happen in novels hardly at all.

Relatedness is so fundamental to the human psyche that as people we try hard to get this right, often with little understanding as to what might be wrong. For some people, this pulls them back inside themselves which can have them unravelling the damage, perhaps with positive outcome, or to a marriage councillor. Or, as my Indian friend said to me yesterday we learn that 'what cannot be cured, must be endured'. My point is that in the process of relating to others we are finding out about ourselves and that's a preoccupation for some novelists because novelists are, I think, simply trying to work things out in the same way as non-writers, but for writers they do that with ink or the keyboard.

Many relationship therapists focus on the well being of the individual and couples emphasizing that bodily contact - sex - is the answer in the end. If you don't feel like sex, try it anyway because often arousal comes before desire, they say. In this way, we are reminded all over again that touch is a lovely thing. We have connected; related. We feel more human. We feel more alive and at peace.

Fundamentally, novelists explore in various ways the universal themes of being human, why humans do what they do, what they do, and how or what might make for some change/improvement. I truly believe that we read stories because we want to believe that people are capable of change; of being better. Maybe that is not a conscious thought but in a novel of several hundred pages there is the opportunity for a character to grow, to adapt, to endure, to survive, to transform and to transcend. Even if it is just two sentences of hope at the end of a 800 page novel, we hold out for it; relish it.

My audience here is not Australian but I am Australian and I was reminded this morning what makes that matter; what being Australian means. I have only read one of Richard Flanagan's novels, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Set in WW2 in a POW camp on the Thai Burma death railway, this brilliant novel lays before the reader scenes where we see what happens when people are pushed to their limits. It took me weeks to think about food in the same way again. How does one eat a plate of healthy food knowing what these men have been through; how malnourished and dehumanized they were? I'm not good reading about or watching brutality and yet the exemplary writing demanded that I go on.

Richard was a keynote speaker at the most recent Melbourne Writers Festival. I caught the talk on podcast this morning and was reminded that what is particular to a character in an Australian novel or to a person in an Australian scenario is not the end of the story. He told the audience a bit of his school life in Tasmania. He talked of a school bully going up to a boy sitting quietly eating his lunch and bashing his head back against a brick wall, not once but three times. As the bully walked off the boy sitting beside the victim called out, "Why?" and the bully replied "Because I can." The school was so rough that staff were less interested in consequences as they were in keeping the peace, Richard explained. It was an experience that has never left him.

He then went on to talk about Australian stories and that none resonated so much with him as the stories of recent times. In fact, he was talking about the recording of incidents in detention centres for immigrants who had entered  Australia illegally, or were in process. (I am not entirely sure who can be detained in this way.) The little 'stories' told of people in complete despair, people who weren't expressing themselves with a keyboard but with thread when they sewed their mouths shut or with flame when they set themselves on fire; people who had lost hope in life.

Richard's brief for the lecture was to try to answer the question why writing matters. This is what I took from it: that we write to explore that which is more important than our individual souls; because things matter; because it is a way to assert freedom and to find meaning. So fascinating, yes, that we write about individual souls to explore that which is more important than our individual souls?!

"Cruel is cruel", said Richard. "Evil is evil", he said. If a Government behaves in a certain way "because it can" is that not enough reason to use the keyboard to remind the reader of what it is to be human? "Australia has lost its way," he said. It sent a chill down my spine. Has Australia lost its way or have we collectively, universally, forgotten what's right and decent?

In my thinking day by day I do tend to focus on the individual and how he interacts with those closest to him or her. I do that because I've had this feeling for a long time that if we look after those in our family and everyone looks after those in their family, those they love, that's maybe the best that most people can do. But, it's not the whole story at all. The Australian ethos for as long as I can remember has been 'a fair go' and if that's in peril, that needs to be expressed loud and clear. Cruelty is cruelty. Evil is evil.

Perhaps what is common to the interaction between a couple or a much bigger story such as immigration detention is for each and every individual to take a moment to walk in the other's shoes. No matter what the issue or situation, that can't possibly hurt. From the smallest to the largest of stories, they are all about the human experience and what it means to be human; that although we are perfectly imperfect we need to hold ourselves to high account.

Monday, August 29, 2016

'Let her go!'

There's this way we have of talking to one another. He taught it to me. He insisted upon it. I, really quite scared to do anything but follow the edicts imposed, followed along, stayed in my lane.

Very quickly, as I recall now it was no time at all, I grew to adore that speak. It gave me a chance to be free. Only bimbo spoke like that. No concerns about mistakes, or misspelt words. In fact, corrections were frowned upon. Misspelt words were encouraged.

When bimbo is very excited, completely unleashed, her language becomes wilder as her mind becomes more open and free. Love won't just be luv but luvvvvvv. Sexy won't just be sexxy but sexxxxxy. Control becomes cuntrol. Becomes becomes becumz because bimbo is uneducated, quite dumb. Simple. She's proud of that. She wouldn't have it any other way. She looks warily around for girl because she spells trouble for bimbo, always has, always will.

Girl is into correct grammar and spelling. She doesn't refer to herself as 'she'. She wouldn't do that. She says "I don't agree" or "Don't you think bimbo has some say in this?", but that's a fallacy, a lie, a deception.  Bimbo would not ask that question. She doesn't ask those sort of questions because she doesn't have those sorts of thoughts. Bimbo doesn't care to have any say. That's not bimbo asking that question. That's girl who now has control of bimbo.

So, if he gets those sorts of responses he knows immediately that bimbo has been "tossed to the side of the road".

He's no fan of the girl. He considers her a "tyrant". Brutal. If necessary, he can be brutal to girl for the simple reason that he'll always defend and protect bimbo against girl. It's happened before. Let's hope it doesn't have to happen again.

It's when he refers to himself as "I", as in "I know bimbo has been hijacked" that girl is able to see through the murky fog of her troubled thoughts and realize what she has done. She's snuffing the life and light out of bimbo. It's true. She's on a rampage to ensure bimbo doesn't see the light of day...until she comes up against bimbo's white knight who will do anything and say anything to protect the silly l'il bimbo inside of the girl.

And it's at that moment, the dreaded use of the word "I", "I know", that the girl drops her weapons, holds up the white flag and says, metaphorically of course, "If you don't shoot I'll release bimbo." And, he responds, metaphorically, "Release the bimbo and the girl can go in peace."

What  a relief for bimbo - to return to her beloved bimbo speek, her pluggiz, her dumbness and lightness, her joy and contentedness.

"Bimbo always enhances girl. Girl does nothing for bimbo."

Oh boy, that makes the girl sit up because it is so so undeniably true.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


For those people who sometimes find themselves stepping on invisible emotional landmines when in conversation with their spouse and wonder what to do to make communication better, I cannot recommend more highly The Intimacy Factor by Pia Mellody.

Many times over four decades I have found myself in the company of an irate and distressed husband in response to something I have unwittingly said. Over time I watched more and more carefully what I said, how I said it and when I said it, but these confusing and upsetting exchanges continued regardless.

In the same vein, I think I have been confusing to talk with too. If something that is said triggers a certain feeling, then the conversation becomes not about the words but about the feeling the words evoke, whether that was the intention or not at all the intention.

I began in more recent times to look for answers, both as to what was happening within me and what was happening within him. I determined that I had a sensitivity to any statements that conjured a feeling of abandonment and of feeling a failure. I determined that he had a sensitivity to any signs of disrespect, of having made a mistake or of having been accused of being lazy.

I'll give an example. Last night I was exhausted. It was just the two of us for dinner and after dinner I made what I thought was an innocent remark, a sort of silly remark.

'Wouldn't you think that by 2016 someone would have devised a way to just press a button and the kitchen would be all cleaned up!'

'That's why people eat take away food,' he responded.

'No, I mean, to clean up the kitchen after making a meal.'

I can't relay his response because it went on for several minutes, a sort of tirade of me making cheap swipes at him, and how if I wanted help I should ask for it and how it was all about my family and the way I'd been brought up wrong. He was angry and defensive and very worked up. He began doing the dishes as he spewed out hurtful comments.

I only said that I didn't understand what had caused this upset and please sit down and have a cup of tea and I'd do the dishes later, but this didn't help.

I left the room, drew a bath and took 'The Intimacy Factor' with me. Using the index I found this:

'Maintaining boundaries takes energy. It requires being alert and ready to put our boundary skills to  work. Even though we may have had a fair amount of boundary practice, because we are perfectly imperfect human beings, the words of our partners will cause us to make up that we have been demeaned and we may feel pain, shame, anger or fear.'

Pia offers a technique to settle oneself down in this situation:

'When we have generated these emotions as a result of becoming improperly vulnerable, we rely on a technique to reduce the emotion and to keep it from infecting the air, thereby making our partner a victim of our carried energies...

She called this technique "breathing into the submission".

"We take a deep, slow breath and imagine the emotion we are feeling as having a bodily presence right before our eyes. Then we breathe into it and let it go. We imagine it passing right through us like a ghost. This way, we keep the emotion from becoming toxic, floating out into the air, and infecting our partner."

Pia explains that when we breathe out the emotion we feel we are learning a lesson in humility. That lesson is that we are never totally free of our traumatic past.

'We are not perfect, but we can be aware.'

I tried this strategy and felt instant relief. I know that my husband bears scars from what happened a half century ago and this reading helped me to see that whilst he will always carry those scars I can be aware and sensitive to those scars.

In the same way, I now know that I am sensitive to what I generally refer to as abandonment thoughts. Whilst not rational in my life today since I have loyalty, love and care from those who matter to me, sometimes a comment will invoke those old  and very painful feelings. I can imagine the feeling passing right through me in the same way. I recognize the importance of not letting the feeling become toxic and infecting the other, since I have allowed it to happen before and that's simply not fair.

We hold most of what happens to us in our sub-conscious. We can live in a sort of denial or dream world, devoid of awareness. But, I believe that you cannot defeat what you cannot see. To become aware of what ails us, what holds us back from happiness or peace or serenity, that's where the power lies. That is when progress is made.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Being oneself

In the early period of writing in this web journal I noted the fact that I masturbated at a very early age. It seemed to be part and parcel of being a kinky girl, since so many other kinky girls had written about this as well.

I don't reject the thought that kinky girls masturbate early but what I also now know is that if a child's emotional needs are not met in childhood they use two tools to soothe themselves: masturbation and food. It stands to reason that this was the primary reason for my nightly activity between the sheets.

It's really very hard to say for sure what were the first images in my head. I was so young; maybe four or five when I started to self stimulate every night, once the lights were off and the covers enclosed me. So, I can't with confidence say that I imagined this or that image as I masturbated at that young age. However, I do know that I have many memories of images where I was being disciplined and humiliated. It was about a school environment, masters and mistresses. Considerably later, it moved into domestic environments, and even later, it became debauched; multiple use; orgies, the whole gamut of the sexual experience on the big screen in my head.

School, at first, my real school that is, was a frightening place for me. For two years it all felt foggy, wobbly. I think what happened, though I have no proof to offer, is that the teachers were making me write with my right hand when I am most certainly a left handed person. I remember having to write on the board and looking back on what I had written. It seemed indecipherable. My reports for the first two years of school, which I still have, make clear that I was unsettled and unfocused. I needed to "try harder". If you then read the report for Second Grade you'd swear this was the report of a different child. It is glowing; a high achiever, focused, motivated and self disciplined.

Of course, when I was a child there was no ADHD diagnosis, no panic attack or anxiety diagnosis; no assistance for a child that entered school life feeling foggy and wobbly. The only other difference between the first few years and Second Grade that I can ascertain, apart from the possible demand that I use my right hand, is the Second Grade Teacher. She was a tough Irish woman who brooked no nonsense and, as I recall, demanded performance from me. I was her mission and I think it is fair to say that one way or the other she got me going at school, even though I feared her and thought her a mean person. I think I just responded to the attention she gave me, even if it was not always pleasant.

At about the same time as I became this model student my ballet years were settling into place. I started ballet early at age 4, I think it was, and the first few years there were wobbly too. My ballet master was extremely strict and not afraid to criticize. I somehow found myself thriving in a strictly controlled environment where excellence was demanded of me. If you didn't get it right the first time you just kept doing it until you got it right. This was all fodder for my nights, when I masturbated myself to sleep to images of this sort of containment, including corporal discipline; something which I never received at home at any age. It wasn't the real life people in my imaginations but rather faceless sorts of people who performed roles; disciplinary roles.

For those who did in fact get a paddling or a spanking when little I don't have any doubt that most of them find this a most galling memory. If it happened to me I suppose I'd feel the same way. But, left to my own devices to more or less bring myself up, it strikes me as caring, assuming it was about care and not about abuse. In my fantasies someone cared enough to monitor, to create expectations, to discipline when there was wrong doing. These images of being disciplined were soothing to me, you see. There was a fear factor, definitely, but it was under the auspices of it being for my own good too.

I do have a couple of memories of the Third and Fourth Grades. By third grade I'd developed a fear of making a mistake such that my anxiety made it difficult for me to focus on the meaning of words at times. I imagine that, using today's understanding of what can happen to children I was having a panic attack, not unlike the way my youngest child had panic attacks in the classroom in Grade 7 when we got him some therapy for this debilitating situation. But, I got the results somehow or other and navigated my way through to the end of school frustrating most teachers because my exam results were rarely up to the expectations they had of me given my standard of work through the year in class. I lived a certain kind of hell during exams since my brain would freeze and I'd only remember snippets here and there.

If you fast forward to when I was having my first child, I undertook a Diploma of Education wherein there was a subject 'Educational Psychology'. Between the baby's naps I prepared for the final exam. I still have a vivid image of sitting in the Philosophy Room of my University and seeing the paper for the first time. It was complete gobbledy gook. I knew nothing. I managed to settle myself down with this thought: that I must know something.

Bit by bit, I began to see that I did know something here and there on the paper and over the course of the two hours, more and more knowledge returned to me. I thought perhaps that I might just pass. With trepidation two weeks later I went to the Notice Board and looked up my academic number to discover that I had got 17/20. I was really pleased. I looked down the notice then to see what sort of other marks were recorded and discovered that 17 was indeed the highest mark.

What I have suffered from all my life is not an ability issue and that's not to have tickets on myself. I was just born with some strengths in that department. Where I am very weak is in self esteem and self confidence. I can struggle to have confidence as to my ability to complete a task well, a perfectionism that can hold me back. And, I can have very weak self-esteem, an inability to believe that I am good enough as I am; that I have inherent worth as I came into the world.

It is an undeniable fact that my issues are greatly improved when I accept that I am a woman who needs a dominant man in her life. I really would hate to be that person. Honestly. I'm not easy to keep in line. My head can reject that need. Other women around me don't need that sort of supervision and containment. But, I do. I do. I do. I do. That's just a simple fact.

I've spoken to a number of dominant men in my life, mostly via this blog, but via other routes as well, and I know that each man has his own approach. These approaches rarely resonate with me. I am not sure why this is. Sometimes I think, well, I can't actually be 'submissive' since simply being obedient or serving doesn't do it for me.

What happened to me is that one day I began to correspond and then chat with this one person, and something therein clicked for me. It was something about an element of care that I felt. He was definitely getting something out of it for himself to have these chats. Why else would he or anyone else keep chatting? But in his case it felt that he had somehow got to the core of my needs; needs that I didn't understand myself. But, he did.

He talks about me needing to be "anchored" and interestingly I think my ground chakra is by far the weakest. I am much too often in my head. I live up there when I need to feel the ground under my feet.

Pia Mellody talks and writes about self esteem being made up of values, power and abundance notions in our heads. Self esteem is in tact when we say to ourselves that we matter as we are, when we have self control and self containment, and good self care.

There's a part of me that feels that I should be able to get to this place of healthy self esteem all on my own. I don't feel that I should be leaning on someone else to get me through this. Yet, it is hard to dispute the facts as I know them to be. I've a certain 'bimbo' sort of disposition. I do best when certain methods are used; methods for which I have a love/hate relationship. I feel, on certain days, that I am weak to need this, and yet, I rise up when those methods are in place. I am indeed anchored.

There is no one 'right' way for all of us. We do all have certain human emotional needs, of course. There are wonderful tools available for the recovery process useful for all who have need of them. I am glad to have them at my disposal. I am also relieved to have kinkiness at my disposal. It's when I accept all of me that I really thrive.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


My reading about love and sex addiction has covered  much ground. My research led me to 'Sex and Love Addiction Anonymous' online and on that site 40 questions for self-diagnosis. In answering the questions truthfully for myself it became clear that I had a problem; not the sort of problem where I count the lovers. That number is meagre. This is not about sex addiction. However, as an example of the sort of questions where I answered 'Yes', no question is more relevant than Question 4: Do you get "high" from sex and/or romance? Do you crash? Oh my goodness, YES! I most certainly do.

I think of the codependent state of mind as being on a roller coaster. In terms of the real ride, I detest roller coasters, every bit of it. At times, the roller coaster ride of romance/connection is a delicious and most intoxicating 'high'. Other times it is a very low mood that germinates from that experience.

It's important to understand that I am not talking about a romance with a open and engaging partner who wants to know you and to be known; who wants to connect with you and talk about important matters such as emotions and boundaries. I'm talking about something that is expressed as being more manipulative than that. The love addict tends to connect with someone whose conscious and unconscious mind demands something different to this; a love avoidant.

In the initial stages of a power exchange dynamic it is completely exhilarating; so exhilarating that I was certainly able to ignore the lows almost completely. In fact, the lows were simply eroticized; part and parcel of the ride. Oddly and irrationally, I believed that I had overcome my fear and loathing of roller coaster rides.

Over time, it got to be more the case that the lows hung around. A sane mind, a healthy mind, doesn't take long to question the value of the ride where upset states endure. However, a codependent mind hangs in there, justifies the lows and remembers vividly the highs. How on earth does one give up on the highs? So, strong of mind and committed to the drug, one endures. There is a sense of a lack of respect at times, a sense of degrading oneself, of feeling weak to want this, but the girl has been 'hooked'. Once hooked, the need for the drug of choice endures.

Time marches on. The turbulence inside oneself continues and increases in decibal in one's brain until a moment comes when the thought is very much there: 'I have to stop this crazy-making situation. I just have to if I am ever to have peace of mind.' Not only was my brain tired of all this effort to stop something that felt unhealthy for me but I worried about the effect my unsettled mind might be having on my bodily health. Meditation, walking, yoga and writing all helped but so far there had been nothing I had found to achieve peace of mind; ongoing stability; a lack of upsetting jolts. Nothing overcame for too long the uneasy sense that the containing of my emotions was not a good thing.

One thing led to another. I read many texts. If any or all of this is making sense to you and you want to do some reading on codependency I found particularly helpful the following books. 'The Human Magnet Syndrome, Why We Love People Who Hurt US' by Ross Rosenberg is a bit repetitive and not especially well laid out, in my opinion. Ross admits that it was written in a rather 'stream of consciousness' way and I think it shows. Nevertheless, he has a lot of great material in his book and as a recovered co-dependent himself, he has huge credibility.

I cannot speak more highly of Kelly McDaniel's 'Ready to Heal'. I underline sentences in texts that are meaningful to me and my copy of this text is now heavily underlined.

I have yet to receive my copy of Pia Mallody's latest book but I have watched just about everything available on UTube and read all the material on her site and other locations. It is this woman who really spoke deep to the core of me.

For my own purposes I don't want today to type out quotes but rather to put her words into my words. It helps me to do this exercise. What impressed me the most was that her words spoke directly to me as if she had seen right into my head and my heart.

I put a great deal of emphasis in my life on a loving relationship. That's okay as far it goes. However, I choose, unwittingly, partners who are love avoidant. They create walls around themselves. I do this because if I can get through that wall, if I can get the attention of someone who insists on being unknowable, then I must not be as insufficient a person as I often feel. It's a self esteem issue as a carryover from a difficult childhood. It's not about achievements, or prettiness or capability. It's about my own internal lack of worth.

I've told my husband all about my feelings of inadequacy now, and have benefitted already with a greater sense of true intimacy, but as I said to him, "To read about that thought process and to own it as mine was a real kick in the guts."

This is what has caused the rollercoaster rides; those rides that seemed endless, taxing; exhausting; fruitless, failures. My desire to know someone wholly who categorically refused to be known was completely getting me down. Yet, I endured.

Not only that. It was made clear that I too was not to be known. Only a part of me was welcome. I just didn't know how to deal with that. I won't ever know. I learned that I am no good with walls. I am too innately curious to not know or to want to have the sort of intimacy where I am known for the complete woman that is writing these words.

Here's another thing. I lost track of me; of who I am and what I want. I wasn't sure in the end if my needs and wants were actually mine or if they had been impregnated into my mind.

It was time to stop everything and just learn to live in my own head without influence. That's what I do these days. I take it slow and I listen to my thoughts. I still love kinky stuff, but I won't be enmeshed again. I won't mistake submission, being a "good girl", with codependence ever again. I'm learning to accept the shame from childhood, to increase my self-esteem which will keep me happy and healthy, and to increase the self-care too. I am indeed not at all "worthless".

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Love addiction - the healing process

Denial has a life all of its own, so when the psychologist asked me a few years ago about my birth family and my relationships with my parents and sibling, I waved all that off. Everything there was fine, I assured her. Yes, my mother could be judgmental and disapproving, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. 'We don't need to go there,' I assured her. Oddly, she totally bought it, and so did I. Although I have had little niggles of thoughts over the years about my childhood, I assured everyone around me, and most importantly myself, that although it wasn't great, it was fine. I wasn't a victim. I hadn't 'suffered'.

It was my only sibling, my brother, who began to raise our childhood with me a couple of years ago. The psychologist he had taken himself off to see put the onus for his anxiety and upset emotions squarely onto our mother and her behaviours.

I didn't understand these comments really. Her generosity is measured but nevertheless she is generous. She worries about us and the grandchildren. She wants us to be happy. I felt sure she loved us. My brother tried to be a bit more specific. He has an incredible memory, remembering many details of our childhood that I don't remember even though I am older than him, but as God was his witness, he said to me, he couldn't remember ever having been hugged by her.

A little alarm bell sounded, because I had already scanned by memory banks for such an event, and I couldn't remember being hugged by her either. I had put this down to a poor long term memory. There is so very little I remember of the early part of my life. In recent days I have wondered if this relates to some sort of shutting off of my memories.

I began to notice my mother's comments about babies and child rearing. She has made these comments dozens of times before, but for the first time I started to analyze them for some data as to how I had been raised. Babies, she is fond of saying, should not be picked up unless they need to be fed, bathed or changed. Other than that, adults shouldn't fuss with them.

When my children were young my  mother was often quite put out by the number of times my husband cuddled them and held them, I began to remember. She was recently incensed when walking behind a grandmother who was carrying a baby whilst the parents of the child wheeled the empty pram. She was quite good with the efficiency of raising (grand)children, I mean of having them about her, though she abhored the mess, but I felt it was clear that she didn't ever want to have full responsibility of them. Rather, she was happy to help out so long as I was there. What I mean to say is that we didn't rely on her at all as a babysitter. It's interesting that I didn't put a judgement on that at the time. I just figured she was who she was and could only do what she could do.

It's not the post to go into my parents' dynamic but it illuminates those years to simply say that my parents were in something of a co-dependent/narcissistic dance. Both lovely people, my Dad wanted what he wanted and my Mum made sure that he got it. This kept her very busy and meant that neither parent was focused too often on their children's emotional needs.

When I was very pregnant with my fourth child both my mother and my aunt (her sister) made it crystal clear not to expect them to be there at the time of the birth. That is, I needed to find someone to be with the other children. I remember being very hurt. If you can't rely on your mother at such a time, then who can you rely on? But, one of my husband's brothers raced over to the house late one evening, as it turns out was the time I went into labor, and I have always felt most kindly towards hin for that act of generosity.

It wasn't until she told me, using her sister's presence to prop up her argument, that she couldn't attend my youngest son's Grandparent day because she was in a final for the Bowls team that I found myself unable to speak. Maybe this news tapped into some sort of wounding but I  sort of went into shock.

At my sons' school grandparents are welcomed two times in a boy's life (K-12) and here she was telling me that she was putting a game of Bowls ahead of her loyalty to her grandson.  I've asked nothing  of my husband's father and his wife but I got on the phone after that and explained that it was incumbent on him to attend the day no matter how he bloody felt about the school. I'd already had to ask a friend to fill in on the grandparents day at Nursery School and I wasn't putting my gorgeous, sensitive guy through that again!

In fact, my mother has never seen her grandson, Captain of Soccer for two years in a row,  play. She has not seen her grand daughter play in the Orchestra or sing in the choir. Thankfully, she did see her Final in the Rowing Championship that being close to her home, but she wasn't there to see her win the Photography Prize in Year 12, and she wasn't there to see my son open a dancing competition u holding his body sideways with one hand. She didn't get to hear a whole huge Assemby Hall gasp in awe. Or, their Cadet Tattoos. Or, to see my son's movie in the Art Festival. Or, to watch him in his plays. Or, to hear my son sing his solo in the annual music evening in the city. None of that was convenient. She loves to hear about their successes but she doesn't put herself out to attend.

However, how my mother responded to the grandchildren in later years doesn't tell me much, I don't think, about my own childhood, one way or the other. My brother and I didn't grow up in a house but rather on the top of the building that housed their commercial business. My mother adored running the business and this is what makes that time different and unique. We could not compete with the allure (and some might argue the necessity) of spending long hours with people other than her young children. I simply have no idea what my life was like in the early years, who looked after me or what stimulus I received.

I'm told that I was a very good baby. I fear that the reason for this goodness was that I had been trained to be quiet, recognizing that my tears would not bring my caregiver running. I don't know. I only know for sure that I caused next to no fuss whilst my brother exhibited much more neediness. I was aware of trying to mother him, of doing what I could for him, but he was anxious, no question.

It seems to be the case that I was absolutely no trouble to anyone at the same time that I was really quite quite lonely and anxious most of the time. I put my energies into my school work (I became obsessed with marks when my mother told me that the fourth grade teacher told her that I had got the academic prizes so far but wouldn't be able to keep this up), tonnes of ballet and piano. My mother did a good job of finding activities to enrich my life in this way. I started ballet at age 4, probably a wee too young but I grew to love it.

We didn't eat dinner with our parents but both my brother and I became attached to the Italian women whose job it was to feed us. I distinctly remember her coming up to clean shoes at night after she cleaned the kitchen and I loved that time of the day, when I'd go out onto the verandah and chat with her. My brother still visits with her periodically because there is a deep connection there whereas he tends to stay away from our mother, maintaining a superficial relationship with her. He knows that I look out for her and visit with her and he phones her every few weeks on average out of duty.

I regretfully must finally accept that a healthy attachment to my mother did not occur in infancy and that this has led to wounds and to a faulty attachment style in adult relationships. I have been vulnerable to forming attachments that leave me wanting to please, and willing to put my own needs as secondary. I've papered over the loneliness and emptiness that I have often felt, most importantly the sensitivity to a fear of abandonment. I've remained silent about my internal strife in an effort to tolerate feelings of shame and a lack of respect for myself in putting myself in these positions.

This realization of what has happened in my life has taken place over a number of years. I've read a great deal on the subject but it is only recently that I have come to understand that my situation at birth set me up for a love addiction. I suspect we can have an idea about this sort of situation but it's not until the discomfort reaches a certain level that the cloud of denial starts to break open a little and reality starts to surface; the illusion one has created starts to be seen for what it is.

I have no interest in discussing my situation with my mother or in blaming her for what happened. I am certain she did the best she could. I just want to free myself from the addiction. I simply want to heal. I'm in the early stages of accepting what has happened and recognizing that I have a long way to go. I don't know exactly where I an going but I am on my way. I don't doubt that there are many difficult days ahead but I am completely committed to healing. This is the first day of the rest of my life.