Married and No Sex?

A good friend, Jackie, called me this morning to report that another of her friends, Samantha, is fed up with no sex in her marriage.  Samantha has decided to divorce her husband after 17 years of marriage. Samantha, has only had sex 5 times with her husband in the last 11. Jackie pleaded with me, “What is going on? I know 5 women close to me, long married that want sex and are not having it in their marriages. Why?!” She continued, “To top it off, Samantha is gorgeous and super fit. What a waste!”

Aging? Routine? Boredom? Perhaps, but I highly doubt that any of that is enough to deter one from one of the most fulfilling exchanges with another – especially if you are living with him or her for the last umpteen years. I propose another possibility: The Inescapable Risk of Intimacy.

It can be a frightening adventure to let go to that grand, mysterious scape called Sexual Relating. Our old hurts and gaping insecurities, our accumulated resentments and untold truths and our unconfirmed suspicions of betrayal cannot hide in the nakedness of raw vulnerability, heightened physical sensitivity and razor-sharp intuition. There is the terror of losing oneself, the other or the shared lifestyle long settled in together.

I met Fatima, a feisty covered Muslim who was a public speaker on sexual reforms in her native Gulf country. I can add her to the list of women complaining that her man is just not interested. She tooted that he loves to watch porn, but never in the mood for her. After more revealing comments about his sexuality, I  had to ask, “Fatima, was Hashim sexually abused as a child?” She replied, “No, he was just touched down there by a group of older cousins when he was 7.” I responded, “Fatima, that is sexual abuse.” I continued to explain, that as long as he has not treated and healed such a violation, the likely humiliation of that molestation and the consequential blows to his self-worth, trust in sex and the other, he would understandably avoid any situation that could wake up those scandalously frightening reminders within. No risk with porn.

So, I would ask Samantha what un-confronted demons are haunting her husband, Paul. Is he holding resentments or fears of not being good enough? Will the ultimatum of Samantha leaving Paul be enough to spur him to seek help to face them. Is Samantha leaving too early and avoiding her own issues by letting Paul be the identified avoider, proving that we always attract our reciprocal? Or is Paul clearly unwilling to heal and has Samantha finally faced her fear of the chaos of this inevitable ending?

Clarence pursues and his wife, Tammy, complains once again of that unrelenting headache. What risks of emotional intimacy are not being braved by either to pave the way for real relating? What wounds of Tammy’s past are unhealed and stubbornly interfering with her sexual flow? Is there a hidden agenda unconsciously serving Clarence to actually not get it on?

So, dear Jackie, no matter that Samantha is a 10. We are rich beings where one’s inner, ruthlessly authentic world overrides the totality of who we are. In fact it directs it all. This inner truth goes on strike or hides behind barriers of self-protection when it perceives threat – usually from the depths within. The answer? Deep work. Sometimes the only way we will engage in that work is if an ultimatum is presented and the potential permanent loss of our spouse is more overwhelming than the temporary loss of comfort to face and feel the painful. Counseling can lead to the necessary breakthroughs. Sometimes deeper therapeutic bodywork is also optimal so the long-held sense memory can be assured a safe venue to finally express itself in all its emotional, explosive colors. The pursuit is reputedly well worth it.

The beautiful irony is that once those inner precipices have been braved, the very courage  and headiness of risk re-ignites the life  force –  whether to stay and deepen strong intimacy or to finally leave and claim a passionate, authentic life longed to be lived.

Posted in Marriage, Psychology, Relationship, Sex, Women | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

My Raw Journey

     I have been a raw vegan for 9 years. Raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds make up my diet, with occasional soaked pulses and raw dehydrated crackers. Flowers sometimes, too!
     Some come to the raw way of eating due to a life-threatening illness. Others hope to drop excess weight. For me, it was the Light. I wanted the Light. I wanted to live in the Light 24/7.
     When I met Kyra in a lush Balinese retreat center in 2000, I immediately knew I wanted what she had. The whites of her eyes were white-white. Her skin was luminous. Under the thatched gazebo where Wayan taught morning yoga, Kyra didn’t perspire a drop while the rest of us were dabbing at constant trickles of sweat in the humid heat. But I had a  problem –  it was unimaginable to let go of the Mexican food I had grown up on, let alone all the other Italian, Greek and Lebanese dishes I loved. I was not ready.
     I had been a vegetarian for over 20 years. I had long followed Fit For Life’s fruit for breakfast and right food combining which introduced even better balance into my diet. I loved salads and occasionally enjoyed my dolmas, eggplant moussaka and green enchiladas, too.
     In early 2003, I attended the 6-day Art of Living meditation course. Our teacher asked us to eat lightly and only fruits and vegetables uncooked or lightly steamed. We were to eliminate alcohol, caffeine, sugar, flour, soda drinks and anything fully cooked or deep fried. Over the week, the yoga asanas became easier to hold and I was progressively less fidgety in the long kriyas and meditations.
     At the end, on day 6, we all had to go around and say how the week had been. I told everyone that I felt the best I had ever felt. But I asked myself, “Why would I probably go back to my former way of eating? Why would I not want to feel this good all the time? Why would I want to sabotage such a clear, lucid, light feeling? Was it a lack of spiritual self-confidence? Was the Light too bright? Did I not believe I was this spiritual essence and had to bring myself down by eating heavy foods and neglect the practices that would lighten me?”
     Sure enough, over the next weeks, I went back to eating my salads with the frequent quesadillas or hummus. The heavier, clogged up feeling overtook the lightness of that impactful week-long course. The question persisted, “Why would I not want to feel that good ALL of the time?” I had felt absolutely amazing. And if it were a lack of spiritual self-confidence, what would need to be healed to know that I truly am the Light I felt all week long?
     The question did not go away. 6 months later, I was in the Amazon jungle for 2 weeks. Because of the hot, sticky environs, I ate raw without calling it that. On the way out of the Amazon, I transited through Manaus for a night. I called room service and ordered cooked food without really thinking of it. Within minutes of eating it, I felt sick, heavy and polluted.
     A month later I was given a brochure announcing Shazzie coming to Dubai from the UK to give a full day workshop on Raw Veganism. A month later, as I sat in her workshop at the swanky Fairmont Hotel, my whole being nodded as she extrapolated on the ins and outs of why live foods, with their enzymes still intact, are so vital for optimal health. Every theoretical explanation, every recipe sampled, I felt my being sigh relief, “Yes, Yes… this all makes sense and resonates deeply within.” I felt the finger of God motioning to me, “Come on…. no more excuses. You know that this is the next step for you. It’s time.”
     After the workshop I was grateful that my then husband and daughter were out with friends. I went home, threw myself on the bed and cried and cried for a good hour. I felt the fear that I would be even more ‘different’ than everyone else. I feared others would be hesitant to invite me for a meal or uncomfortable to eat their cooked food in front of me. I was not doing this so to be disconnected to the many friends and family in my life. Could it all co-exist?
     The next day, I settled into this new commitment.  It was a new day, a new era. Near sunset, I was at a set of traffic lights on Al Wasl Road and a large grove of tall pine trees caught my attention. All of a sudden, I felt them emanating a distinct energy. I felt their essence come into me. It was undoubtedly a peak experience moment. I understood in that moment that as of now, the buffer that heavier cooked food was, would no longer be there. It was clear that I would feel everything more directly. In order for me to let go of the buffer that the density of cooked food was for me, I had to be emotionally whole enough and strong enough to work with whatever would come my way without those former protections. I knew that up until two days before, I was not ready. Now I was.
     As an early adolescent I discovered the balm and sedative food was to become for me over the next 15 years. Comfort eating was not a common term then, but its reality in my life sure was. Alcohol or prescription drugs did not do it for me. Food did. It soothed me, it accompanied me, it received me and would hold me in life’s upsets. It took me many, many years to finally hit that grateful rock bottom and say No more! I want to recover from this once and for all. OA, therapy and healing all taught me to put the food down and feel the feelings, to learn to turn the angst and compulsion over to a Higher Power, who tickled me with the most outlandish synchronistic appearances.
     It would take 14 years to anchor this practice of weathering the earthquakes and tsunamis of life with spiritual and emotional tools, feel the wide range of feelings and learn the truth that when someone is unkind to me, it is their pain, not the proof of my unlovability.
     In that time, I lived in Paris and was introduced to Ramadan through dear Moroccan friends. One is to fast from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Often with two hours to go before breaking fast the weakness would really set in. To keep going until sunset, I was motivated to learn to ‘eat’ or take in ‘God’ or vital life force energy through breathing, praying and meditating, since food was not an option immediately. I grew to love observing Ramadan and would reach the end of this lunar month, not wanting it to end. I decided to observe it yearly as a non-Muslim. This practice had its influence on me to eventually go raw. I wanted that rarified state all the time that fasting for a month would give me.  I also saw that I had learned to handle tough moments physically and emotionally with breathing and spiritual practices, instead of with the instant reflex to grab a bite to eat.
     So when it was time to go raw, the benefits revealed themselves instantly. Over the first month, I had this persistent awareness of the amalgam fillings in my back teeth and felt the urgency to replace them immediately! Mentors on this path explained that the leaking of the fillings now were becoming glaringly evident and could no longer be dulled or masked. Overall my memory improved and my heightened intuition surprised me and those close to me. My healing sessions became more pointed and effective. My physical stamina and energy levels were at an all time high.
     So, do I miss the lasagna and chili rellenos? No, not any more. I have learned to make raw alternatives when I really would like those flavors. Over time, as I increasingly feel more aware and sharp, the desire to eat heavy foods- even rich raw ones- gradually leaves. The occasional times I have an exceptional cooked dish or an elaborate raw substitute, I pay for it with a groggy next 2-3 days and eager to have that accustomed clarity back. Given it has been 9 years, the temptations are rare and the joy and exhilaration maintain the overall flow of this discipline.
     What if you are attracted to the benefits but not ready to go 100% raw?
51% raw or more is the answer. When we eat at least 51% of raw food, we are replenishing our system with new enzymes. Cooking food kills off the enzymes. Enzymes are magical. They are life force in tangible form. They give us energy, they allow us to digest our food well and get the most out of it. They keep this fine machine of our body running smoothly.
     What’s next on this continuing evolving journey of my raw eating? I have been graced with more and more organic options in Dubai (Organic Foods & Cafe, RIPE, Market at Souk Al Bahar and the Marina, Spinneys and Choithrams). I would like the experience of growing my own organic food on fertile land and celebrate the joy of planting seeds, watching them grow and then preparing delicious meals with their harvest!
     If you would like to read an article on my observing Ramadan, you may go to http://www.cynthagonzalez.com and click on Articles.
     Favorite sites on Raw Food:
     www.renegadehealth.com
     www.fredericpatenaude.com
     www.rawfamily.com
Posted in Nutrition, Ramadan, Raw Food, Veganism, Vegetarianism | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Real Test of Male Power…

The Real Test of Male Power…
     As I receive American news feeds, I see that the US  was recently reeling in two separate sex scandals. I can only imagine what is going on behind closed doors for all of these men: John Edwards the politician, as well as the 12 Secret Service men sent back to the US from Cartagena, Colombia after all being caught with sex workers, while on assignment for President Obama.
     What I imagine is each one has been spiraled into a dark night of the soul which started with a rude awakening when a revealed sly sex act quickly led to  a campaign dismantled, or jobs lost amongst the backdrop of viral media coverage.
     How many of the Secret Service men were married or in a committed partnership? How many had children who are old enough to know what a prostitute is? What chaotic dark nights of the soul are these wives, girlfriends and children back home going through?
     Welcome to the world of the Shadow, the haunting promise of Sex and the most humbling Reckoning with oneself!
     All of these men in all their undeniable professional irresponsibility and – when in a committed relationship – their searing betrayals, are also mortal beings who unknowingly have sacrificed themselves as tragic figures upon whom the world over can project their judgements, fears or relief – “Pal, glad it was you caught, and not me!”
     And speaking of mortal beings – these secret servicemen who visit “prostitutes” remind me of the James Bond flicks where the beautiful girl hired by the enemy tries to seduce Agent 007. Sex is a mighty powerful allure, promising ultimately rapture and union with the Divine and everything in between. As long as the inner life is not given priority and cultivated, any “warrior” on a mission to protect the US president or stop the ominous enemy, will be ultimately rendered useless and ineffective. Any politician aiming to be President of the US, will eventually be humbled that the inner life is unavoidable amongst the headiness of power and fame.
     This dark night of the soul, if weathered courageously and with skilled guidance, will actually temper all of these men into Real Men- men capable of  mature self-accountability and the strength to stay the emotional depths of uncomfortable vulnerability and emotional and spiritual self-knowledge. Otherwise a tabloidesque drama will continue of prolonged blame and avoidance of the paramount issues that I believe are calling for resolution.
     Bravo to the Colombian sex worker who stood up and claimed her right to the agreed terms of service. I believe she mirrors the deep, emotional, vulnerable purity in her American client who somewhere deep within must also be ready to stand up and say to himself, “Claim me! I can’t do this any longer. I can’t tolerate the denial of my inner own secret fears, fantasies and insistent rumblings one day more.”
     I also trust great healing has come to this woman as she stood up to an abuser and saw him held accountable, perhaps unlike the probable abusers of her past who likely would have had their role in her now living such a marginal life. Since this scandal broke, her courage has inspired sex workers in Brazil and El Salvador to come out and speak up in past US related military incidents.
     For those in committed partnerships, Edwards and each Secret Service man and their partners have been catapulted into one treacherous decent unto themselves. May the Greek, Roman and other legendary myths soothe their aching souls. They are in good, earnest company where such arduous tests of initiation are inevitable.
     The choice to marry brings the hope for everlasting love. But what we are not educated on as a mass, is the serious initiation rite it is. The choice to be in positions of political power is no less rigorous.
     Any initiation is an epic endeavor. It promises tests of faith and strength. It promises a confrontation with all that is deemed undesirable, repugnant and inadmissible.
     According to Thomas Moore in Dark Nights of the Soul, “The presence of a third in a triangle represents the soul.” The macho, cool facade is defenseless against the deepest longings from within that this “third” represents. The soul longs for itself.  In order to dialogue with the soul’s longing, the inner life must be engaged. Otherwise if it is not, the messiness of the triangle will be absolutely necessary as it will create the uncomfortable tension of a soul striving to birth itself to its next heroic expression.
     Thank you guys and your implicated partners, children and family members, for the mirrors you represent to all of us. May your descent be paved with earnest guides and relentless angels as you brave the dark, choppy waters ahead. May you come through this initiation with the dignity promised to any hero courageous enough to dive this deeply and accept such a daunting and formidable mission.
     To follow up with two other writers who have elaborated on this theme, please go to:
and
** If you would like to quote any of the above, please respect my copyright and reference Cyntha Gonzalez.
Posted in Politics, Psychology, Relationship | 2 Comments

Intro

Welcome to my Blog!

I am brimming with Ideas and you will see some posts very soon!

– Cyntha

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