Monthly Archives: June 2014

everyday karma at Everyday Joe’s Coffee House

Also published at elephant journal as The Karma Cafe

I continue to listen to him, but mostly I am just letting his voice soothe me.

We talk, and I watch him from across the table—but mostly I feel the energy coming off him, out of him. I know him as a very authentic person—have known him for some time now. He is calm and not about the drama, but the more he talks, the more I can feel the slow, small everydayjoes1twist of the hurricane he carries inside his chest. And I am so glad not to be a part of that, selfishly glad not to be in his shoes. I can hear those waves crashing from all the way over here on my side of the table. When he speaks, I love the heavy, watery weight of his voice, his laugh even more so: deep and gravely and calm. I ride the waves of his voice, and willingly let that undertow pull me down and under. From somewhere deep inside of myself, I sit and listen.

He talks of the books he’s read to help explain his situation. He thinks he must somehow ‘ride it out,’ ‘see what lies beyond this,’ ‘pass this test.’ He keeps pulling all those platitude cards out of his deck and placing them on the table; he talks a nice talk.

Maybe it helps him—him thinking he is actually accomplishing something. I can feel him wanting to stay in integrity, wanting to do not only what is correct but also what is right. But it spins slowly, and as I move away from the eye of his hurricane, it begins to get sloppy. This place of heaviness is home to him now. I can sense the thick brownness of it, how it feels congested, unhappy and weighty and sad. Still, he is calm. I can also feel the uncertainty there that has become his certainty. This is his way of living now, but I know it has not always been so. He has let it become his obligation, his world. karma1

I don’t feel sorry for him; he has choices, and he decided somewhere along the way to take this on. Mostly, it feels heavy. It feels like a burden he picked up or that maybe built up slowly over time. And now he doesn’t quite know how to put it down, doesn’t know if he wants to. It might seem unnatural to be without it now. I feel, behind his words, a question; he’s wondering if there is a resolution, a completion to be peacefully navigated.

It feels a bit surreal and out of sync—like that dream that wakes you before the end. And you wonder if that was the dream or if, like an unfinished movie, it is continuing to play somewhere and you just woke up too soon—before the end.

beancycle4Karma is like that. I burn mine until it’s gone, but there seldom seems to be a real conclusion. I’m always waiting for the cosmic credits to roll, to clue me that it’s over. I don’t recognize the end because I’m usually too busy wondering what happened. Where did I go wrong this time? My mind stumbles around, shell-shocked, glassy-eyed, mumbling to itself, trying to find solid ground again. But nothing ever really can go ‘wrong’. It goes according to the karmic plan. That’s how karma works.

My karma is like low-budget, artistic, independent foreign films that end abruptly and weirdly, leaving a strange, unsettled taste in my mind’s mouth.

So I continue to listen to him, but mostly I am just letting his voice cradle and soothe me. At 1stphone2one point he asks for my advice, and I reluctantly bring my mind back to the table, pause too long for social propriety (because I don’t know quite what to say), and finally try this, calmly:  “I cannot give you an unbiased opinion …” At which pause, and with perfect comedic timing, he interrupts and says, “I don’t want your unbiased opinion. I want you to be on my side!”

We laugh a few bars, and in some back room of my mind, I use those precious seconds to scrape together the cokarma7urage to start again, “I can’t give you an unbiased opinion on what to do with your insecure, controlling girlfriend, who is making you very unhappy, because … I am too attracted to you.”

And everything stops.

And we stare at each other.

Across the table.

Over the coffee cups.

His eyes become watery—and with that, mine want to also, so I let them. “Me too,” he says.

Careful, this is what happens, Mr. MW, when you know/love a writer. 🙂

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the first phone conversation, or the fine art of penis thrusting

In which I continue to reveal what I learned from a dating website scam

The First Phone Conversation

The first thing that was obvious was his very thick accent. He had already told me, via the dating site, that he was originally from Poland (and yes, this sparked some suspicion). The accent was so thick, in fact, that I had a horrible time understanding him. Which made me want to giggle, 1stphone3both because I was so bloody nervous and also because that was a classic situation, right? You know how when you are talking to someone that, for whatever reason, you can’t understand, and you’ve asked “what?” and “say again, please” and “excuse me?” so may times that it becomes embarrassing and you just end up saying nothing, smiling and nodding knowingly? Only there was no way that would work, because it was a GD phone conversation. Gawd! What to do?! And besides the accent, he was mumbling. I kept wanting to tell him to speak up, but resisted the urge. Instead, I muddled through as best I could and tried to be polite.

“How was your day?”—finally! Something I could understand!

“Well, I was pretty nervous all day, knowing you were gonna call, so I had a good, but nervous, day, I guess.” I laughed at the memory of my day, making fun of myself. He laughed gently too, which scored him some points in my book—both the laughter and the gentle part.

I had been alone in the small office where I work downtown, which happens sometimes and which I like, being the introvert that I am. I get my work done much more easily when no one is around. I like being alone much of the time. (Okay, don’t even get me started on that conversation. The one about why, if I love being alone so much, I’m on a dating website.)

I love being alone because I can be myself, which, especially at my no-longer-a-Spring-chicken age, is often just down right goofy. I have a lot of fun. I laugh at myself out loud—at my own wacky, creative thoughts, w??????????hen I mistype on the keyboard and type some crazy, significant, subconscious, synchronistic thing. When the solution to some long-standing problem suddenly pops into being inside my universe and it was so GD obvious, but I couldn’t see it until now. When I’m typing a word at the same time a song I’ve never heard is saying that same word, etc.

I also cry a lot when I’m alone—with joy, with sorrow, with whatever is happening around and inside me at that moment. Being alone gives me the freedom to live right in the present moment and be able to react to it and experience it out loud.

One minute I’d be laughing at myself, the next minute I’d sit and make myself breathe deliberately and calm myself for a few seconds. Then I’d think of his promise to call later and jump up, yelling obscenities, and laugh, “Oh my gawd, what am I doing?! He is actually gonna call me today! And what the hell are we gonna talk about, anyway?!” At which point I would make a flustered mental note to get back online to the dating site before the call and check out his profile again to see what common interests we had so that I could make notes and use them during the call.

“Oh my gawd, what are you doing, Gracie!?” was the theme of that day, and I laughed at myself each time, knowing this was exactly what I wanted and had asked the Universe for. “So just buck up, my dear Gracie, and do it,” I told myself repeatedly, loving and hating, at the very same time, that nervous, anticipatory stomach flutter.

I kept the phone close to me when I got home, not wanting to miss his call. I changed clothes, ate something and began checking emails, as usual. A friend who was aware of my Divine Feminine (DF) journey had sent me a link to a blog post by a woman who was explaining—in 1stphone4hilarious and all too-familiar detail—why she couldn’t fuck spiritual guys—or rather, she explained, why they couldn’t fuck her. I recognized almost every man I had ever been with in that post. I clicked around her blog and was totally groovin’ on it so that when the phone rang, I was reading an awesome—and extremely well detailed—post directed at men about penis thrusting techniques during sex. 1stphone5

“Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!” as I fumbled the phone a few times and dropped it on the bed where I was sitting with my laptop. I finally got it answered and to my ear. I glanced at the laptop screen and, oh shit!, slammed it shut and tried to focus on the call.

“Crap, how bloody desperate do I look?” I thought, sitting here alone getting horny reading a blog about thrusting techniques. (Although in my defense and to be fair to her, it was a great post, was right on, and everyone really does need to know these things. I had been thinking how I totally agreed with everything she was saying and wishing I could send this link to everyone everywhere without it seeming too weird. Plus it had some super hot photos to go with it.)

When I first got on the dating website and men were requesting I talk to them, I nervously admitted to my friend Jo that I didn’t know if I could do this or not. And I meant do it differently than I used to. She had been privy to my DF journey, to my realization that I wasn’t happy with my life and then to the decision to change that. The last two years had been filled with learning,  1stphone2practicing, relearning, research, practice, tears, laughter, practice, be around men, practice, be a vessel of praise for the masculine, practice, allow, change my energy from defensive and combative and masculine (practice) to allowing and feminine—still powerful, but now open too, and practice.

Did I mention the practice thing?

She watched me struggle, cheered me on when I got stuck or angry or depressed. So at some point, one day when she was at my house, I clicked on the dating site and showed her the three bachelors. That one, she pointed at Bachelor number two, confirming my own feelings about the three main choices.

So here I was, sitting on my bed in sock feet, fumbling the phone, trying to decipher the thick (and quickly becoming, sexy) accent of a possible gentlemen suitor, having just closed the laptop on a blog about sexual thrusting techniques. So when he asked quite innocently, and really, the perfectly good getting-to-know-you, conversation-generating question of, “What were you doing when I called?” I had to roll my eyes.

ilovelucyThat was a perfect example of my life. It generates endless opportunities for me to laugh at myself. Most days I feel like I am living in an episode of I Love Lucy.

“Fuck me, how am I gonna get out of this?!” was my instant, panicked thought. It should be known right here that I am a sucky liar. It is not that I lack imagination; I have plenty of imagination—I’m an artist. I just can’t pull it off. I feel guilty, and it is always obvious.

And, I am no prude when it comes to love and sex. In fact, in my exploration of the DF/DM polarities, I had made a point to study everything I could that was related to sex and relationships.

As a Hypnotherapist and months ago, I had even begun facilitating workshops based on the information I had uncovered. I knew it would propel my own DF journey swiftly forward to be surrounded by women doing the same thing. But Bachelor number two didn’t know any of this 1stphone1about me, and I reasoned that the first conversation with someone is probably not the best time to dump all this info on him. And being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean I’m shy. I am not shy. I can talk to just about anyone about just about anything—including sexual thrusting techniques.

But the fact that this was the first time I’d ever talked to him and that I’d met him on a dating website to begin with and because it was just too much of a cliche’ that a no-longer-a-Spring-chicken woman who already had those two things happening in her life right now, at this very moment, was on what anyone (admit it, you’re thinking it too) would call a “soft porn” (and totally awesome!) blog site at the time of his first call, was just too much—even for me.

I tried to lie. I really dchurch of the dogid try. I have dozens of books on my bedside table—To Kill a Mocking Bird; The Secret Life of Bees; The Green Pharmacy; Eat, Pray, Love; Bach Flower Remedies; The Portable Walt Whitman; Church of the Dog; Hold on to Your N.U.T.s; the list could go on—all in varying categories of having been read, reread, skimmed, dog-eared, underlined, underlined with notes, etc. I could have been reading when the phone rang.

I could have said I had been reading poetry—ee cummings, perhaps; he’s there too. I even have several movies on that same nightstand. I could have been watching Eat, Pray, Love for the thousandth time, You’ve Got Mail, Practical Magic. I tried to come up with something pithy and funny that would be distracting and amusing (at which I am usually very good)—something to change the subject.

Instead, what came out of my mouth, in my usual just-spill-your-guts fashion was, “Okay, I’m busted,” as calmly as possible and in a I’m-busted tone of voice, “I was looking at a blog post about…” my mind in its nervous state was still valiantly trying to save the situation, “…sex,”—and failing. Okay, so I’d managed to save a bit of face there, though, because I hadn’t mentioned the whole “thrusting techniques” thing. Good job, brain! Even for that little bit of a reprieve, I was relieved and happy. But still…

To my extreme relief, and after a too-long-for-my-comfort pause, I heard laughter hit my ear—loud and plenty of it. At some point in there, I joined him, because that’s what I’d wanted to do in the first place anyway. And that’s what I’d have done if I’d been alone with the situation. In that laughter, I felt a bond forming between us, uniting us—because he understood why that was so funny—and so ridiculously human and real.

His laughter finally slowed to a chuckle, “I like that you are so honest with me,” that sexy accent thing again. To which I could only answer with another eye roll, “Yes, I am honest.”

He had no idea about my type of honesty—the type that when someone asks, “What are you thinking about?” I just start in and really tell them. I liken it to mentally/emotionally/verbally throwing up on people. And to be clear, I am always kind in my verbal throwing up. I’m not the type to say things that might be hurtful. In fact, when I know I’ve got to have that type of 1stphone6conversation, I revert to Rule #3: Don’t throw up on them. Don’t say anything until you’ve thought about it very carefully, Gracie, to find a way to say it kindly, calmly and in an adult, assertive but not aggressive, way. I am so careful about that.

So I added, “But I’m always kind in my honesty.” And then silently cringed because as that was spilling out of my big mouth, I remembered one of his emails where he’d said he was looking for a woman who was gentle and kind. So now it was sounding like I was trying to tick off all the items on his “perfect woman” list. And gawd damn it! I’d forgotten to get back online before this call to see what our mutual interests were and make that list, anyway!

Message from me to him via the dating site after our call

May 30th
Hi Michael,
Thanks for the phone call. It was enjoyable talking to you. Here is my email address.

what I learned from a dating website scam—about myself, about men

I feel like I actually won, somehow, because while he got no money from me, I came out on the other end of a scam feeling empowered and richer.

I was recently scammed via a dating website. I won’t mention which one it was—mainly because it doesn’t matter. When I told close friends about the scam, many of them said it had also happened to them on various other dating websites—so the site itself is not the issue.scam2

I’m also not going to discuss any of the “red flags” I noticed during this experience but ignored for various, probably self-deceptive, reasons – because that would only give scammers ideas about how to improve the scam. But I am going to talk about what I learned.

Because I learned a lot.

There’s a lot of information circulating right now about Masculine and Feminine energy. Women are learning how focused and goal-oriented men are. And women are beginning to understand that this is a big turn-on. There is nothing so sexy as a focused, self-directed man who is going after what he wants – whether it’s a woman, that new job or the big, cosmic, spiritual goal of living his life with scam6integrity, purpose and clarity.

It is simply a massive turn-on to be around a man who is living for himself first and putting all other things second—including me. Steve Horsmon says it well in his GoodGuys2GreatMen blog post. “The truth is, a woman can not help but honor a man who first honors himself by having the integrity to stand for and live by his values.”

I was surprised and extremely relieved that within minutes of publishing my dating website profile, several men already wanted to connect with me. Sometime within the last two years, while I’d worked on my own issues, I had made a new rule for myself. I don’t initiate anything with men. They must make first contact. It was a good rule, trust me.

In those two years I had, once again, taken a serious look at my life, and I didn’t like what I saw. And I believed that if I didn’t like something about my life, I had the ability to change it. I had done it before. I was determined to do it again. I began by exploring and changing the only thing I have absolute power over: what I believe, think and say.

When I looked back at all my romantic relationships, I found that I was always the person to initiate the exchange. In fact, I was usually the person pushing frantically to make it happen. Consequently, I had always been in relationships with very passive men—which I then proceeded to bully into being more masculine. Gawd, I can’t tell you how very embarrassing that was to admit to myself!

I could see that I had always put myself in a self-protected, dominant “masculine” place on the masculine to feminine spectrum. From my research, I began to understand that Feminine and Masculine energies are always seeking polarization and balance. Like the poles on a magnet, like repels like and opposite poles attract. It was no wonder, then, that I had always attracted sensitive, passive, or even “feminine,” men.scam3

I began to pay attention to my own energy and beliefs associated with the masculine and feminine. When searching for why I was so resistant (and even hostile) to receiving men’s masculine gifts/energy, I had to go back to childhood. I realized it was not safe in my childhood to appear “weak” or “less than” by receiving help from anyone—especially from males.

My adult rejection of Masculine gifts was founded upon good reason (survivor of abuse), but had become a defensive, knee-jerk habit that no longer served me. I started by taking the emotional charge off the originating source. And yes, it was painful and difficult to look at and heal.

So having done my work—and still doing my work (lordy, does it ever end?), I was confident I was ready to let men, and the Universe, lead. I just wasn’t so sure how that would look.

I did still have moments of panic, when I wondered if I was truly ready and if I could live the lessons I’d learned or not—but mostly, I was excited to begin something totally new for me: the art of embodying the Divine Feminine and of allowing. After many months of research and healing, I certainly needed the practice of walking around in my new, allowing skin, so I stepped carefully and introspectively into this dating website. I occasionally freaked-out a bit and thought of removing my profile, but I ignored that sensation every time it came up, rallied and kept moving forward.

I let men initiate every connection I made on the dating site. So when one of the men suggested he call me and email me instead of using the site’s messaging system, I liked that he was taking charge of the situation and moving things forward. I agreed and gave him my phone number and email address.

His energy during our first phone call was obvious. I liked it. It was focused, direct. I could tell he had a mission. The mission seemed clear to me. I like this woman. Get to know this woman. During the next few days, he asked direct questions, he expressed interest in me and my life, we laughed a lot together. We were soon talking twice a day, in the morning to start our day and in the evening, before going to sleep. We were also emailing often.

scam1I woke up every morning, remembered and smiled. I could feel my heart sigh happily, expanded and relaxed, felt it stretch inside my chest like a big fat tabby cat with a full belly and nowhere to go. I languished. I turned to greet the sun each morning warming the bed through the window and imagined seeing his sleeping form beside me. I imaged waking him gently and slowly with kisses that would start on the back of his broad neck (he had sent photos of a man—some included a son—another scam victim?). I’d work my way up to his ear and then pull myself up and over him, so that I’d be lying in front of him, still kissing him easily—on the eyelids, the nose…

He would grumble, then smile as he came back up from the deep and pull me closer with a sleepy laugh. I craved that familiarity with him, that habit and ease of intimacy. Every sunrise, upon waking, I was hopeful and happy and imaged some form of this perfect morning. But he wasn’t there yet, and I liked that too, liked the thick anticipation of it. I didn’t want him there too soon.

I loved the feeling of walking around every day knowing we were falling in love with each other as we talked on the phone and emailed each other. I felt like we were becoming a team, and I loved the feeling of him having my back, of having someone who adored me. I felt safer in the world, knowing we were coming together as a couple. With these feelings growing inside me, I walked taller every day—stood up straighter, felt powerful, safe and almost smug in his warm regard.

I felt important to him. I felt his masculine, goal-focused energy directed at me, at wooing me. It felt heavenly. I had never felt energy this intense from a man. Partly, I’m sure, because I had never allowed it. Before this, I had made everything happen—not allowing the man to direct anything.scam4

In hindsight, I know the reason that his energy was so intense was because this was how this man made his living.

Men, being men, are often very focused on their career and making money. One of the ways they show love for their woman and family is to make money. This is one of the masculine gifts they bring to the world. The intensity of that focus on career/job is primal, I think, for men. It is one of the strongest urges he has. The scammer took that directed, intense, masculine energy normally reserved for focusing on a career, because wooing women was his career, and focused that energy on me.

scam5He was confident in his abilities, as odious as they were. It must have worked for him before, because I could feel that confidence. I’m not saying I support him or scams. I think it’s petty, deceptive and sociopathic to even attempt to prey on anyone in this manner.

The point I’m making is this: It felt pretty fucking amazing to be the focal point of that type of intense, masculine energy normally reserved for a man’s career. It was like a highly addictive drug that I couldn’t get enough of, for fuck’s sake.

Gentlemen, I have just handed you the keys to the proverbial female kingdom. Lock and load your first 20-round magazine and fire at will. 🙂

Information Men can take away from this Experience

Take that unbelievably amazing, goal-driven, concentrated masculine energy that you usually reserve for making a living and a career and focus it on your woman once in a while. We don’t want you to give up yourself and your life for us—that is extremely unattractive, and we will lose respect for you if you do that. But we do want, on a regular basis, to feel that we are, in that moment (or those twenty minutes), the single most important thing to you.

I’m talking about the concentration and focus that you point at work, your career—that primal energy of survival, because that’s where your next meal is coming from. Focus on us like you do it for a living, like your life depends on it. We can feel the difference.

As women, we understand the courage it takes to be that vulnerable. We have a deep respect for that—especially when it comes from a man.love blue

You become our hero when you do this for us. Because you care enough to really pay attention and then act on it. You know the perfect time to call us, how to touch us, when to tease us and when not to—all because you took that how-can-I-win-this-contract way of thinking and applied it to your wooing of us and turned it into the how-can-I-win-and-keep-her-heart-and-respect way of thinking.

Please lead the way for us, with your strong, directed masculine energy. Because when you offer that to us, it creates a safe place for us inside the protection of your love, your attention. It frees us to be able to do the same for you.

We women, with our seemingly scary, out of control, multi-tasking brains, will know you really see us and hear us when we turn off the hundreds of simultaneous thoughts, when we put down the phone, close the laptop, stop talking, etc., to concentrate on you and give you our undivided attention and vulnerability, when we genuinely open to you.

And when that shared focus becomes a wonderful habit, something that is a part of the normal, everyday way we love and live together? Dude, you have just become a girl’s dream come true right there.

What I am Taking Away from this Experience for Me

I learned that I really can embody Feminine energy. I was able to be the new, feminine person I wanted to be. I learned that I am able to keep my heart open during a budding relationship. At no time during the experience did I become defensive or reactive. I was just relaxed and allowing. I let him direct himself. I directed myself—powerfully and softly.

godess blueAnd while I felt disappointed as soon as the proverbial rug was pulled out from underneath me (which really felt more like a magic carpet ride, in this case), I never felt like I had done anything wrong or stupid. I still have not felt any shame. Because the only thing I was “guilty” of was being authentic, open and vulnerable.

I got to feel what I’ve always been missing and craving without even knowing I had been missing and craving it: to be the occasional, appropriate, single, determined focus of a man’s goal-oriented attention.

The experience gave me an example of how intense that focused, masculine energy could be—and how important and cherished it made me feel to be the recipient of that, how it filled me up to feel that coming from him. I was his goal. It felt stunning. For the first time in my life, I felt that with a confident man’s support and love, I could meet him there and support and love him too—in the healthy, adult, juicy, wild, authentic and close-to-the-bone way I have always wanted to be able to love. scam.8

I feel like I actually won, somehow, because while he got no money from me, I came out on the other end of a scam feeling empowered and richer.

The story continues here with:  The first phone conversation, or the fine art of penis thrusting.

Also published by The Elephant Journal