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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

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living in an ashram

For the past few years, I have been living in an ashram. ashram Or I have kept that mindset anyway.

Let me explain.

A few years ago I decided I didn’t really like my life, and I decided to do something about that. I decided to create a life I really liked and felt good about/in. So I began experimenting with what felt right/good. It took a while, too, b/c it took a while to figure out what worked and what didn’t. From that starting point, nothing really felt right/good.

You know how we get entrenched into the old stuff and even when new, and maybe even better, stuff comes along, we resist change. And how if we dare to try something – anything – new, it just doesn’t feel goodmeditation until we give it some time, until we grow into it, until we feel comfy in that new thing. Well, that was me a few years ago: Determined to change something to feel better, but just not sure what that was or how that would look… or what to do…

After a while, though, I settled into a routine that I began to describe as “living in an ashram.” It went like this: I got up at 5am every morning to the gentle sound of monks chanting themonks chanting Eternal Om as my wake up call. Three days a week I would work out cardio-wise – usually on my rowing machine. It made me feel good – while I was exercising and afterwards too. Twice a week I did yoga. I loved the soft, meditative Hatha flow of the yoga on my mat those mornings. In the warmer months, I did all this on my back deck, taking in the morning splendor. I rode my bike everywhere, loving the freedom, the air, how healthy and ‘green’ it made me feel. I ate healthy foods, and a lot of 100% dark chocolate. I still worked my ‘real’ job, still saw clients. I meditated every day. I looked at it like this: In an ashram, you get up early, you meditate and do devotional prayers/etc., you also have to dark chocdo work to keep the ashram running – wash clothes, clean the floors, prepare food, weed the garden, etc. You also, in an ashram, sometimes have to go out into the ‘real’ world and interact with those not on your same path. All the things I was doing in my life.

It worked marvelously. I was happy. My life felt wonderful – maybe it was just all that chocolate, but life was good. For several years.

And then right around May – June 2013… it wasn’t.

I began to feel, again, that something was wrong. Nearly every morning, upon waking, I felt sad. Many mornings I cried in frustration as I woke up. Or I was angry – so angry that I cried and cursed. I did more of what I had been doing to makeashram2 myself feel better: I meditated to try and come up with why this was; I exercised; I did yoga; I ate healthy foods. I asked the Universe to tell me what this was and how to fix it.

I happen to believe that those first few seconds upon waking are some of the most vulnerable, truthful, Real moments we get about ourselves, our lives. We haven’t had time to put on our social face or our spiritual face or whatever ‘face’ that is gonna keep me from hating life and crying. I tend to respect those few seconds and pay a lot of attention to them – they tell me volumes about me and my life – about my subconscious.wake up

About the same time as things shifted, I began to explore the dfDivine Feminine (DF) energy I knew I had always had access to. I have been doing energy/light work for years. I always taught it the way I lived it – which is: The Divine is the Divine. It doesn’t matter if it’s Masculine or Feminine; it is pure. redhotandholyBut I found I really wanted the Divine Feminine energy; I wanted to explore that, and so I kept searching, kept researching. I read several excellent books on the subject, among them Red Hot and Holy by Sera Beak and Powerful and Feminine by Rachel Jayne Groover.

Everything I encountered about the DF told me the same thing: Your way of connecting powerfulandfemwith the Divine may shift. You may not want to sit quietly and meditate any more – a very masculine way of reaching for the Divine, by the way. I thought I was listening for that call, the call of the Goddess. I thought I was ready to shift as needed. But apparently not, b/c I did not recognize it as that until just today.

Last week I began to think about experimenting again – duh! What took me so long to figure that out?! Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not happy about this experimenting. I didn’t just skip along and laugh merrily and decide to play with my life, happy to be changing everything about me and my life again. No, remember I said this had been going on for months. Months of frustration, anger, depression, anxiety – feeling powerless to figure out what it was and how to fix it, even though I was constantly trying to figure it out.

I think maybe I got to the point of just giving up. The “Oh, fuck it – whatever,” stage – said without any energy behind it.

So last week I didn’t exercise every day. I let the monks begin their chanting every morning at 5am, but I didn’t necessarily get up and do anything. A couple of mornings I reset the monks and went back to sleep – and smiled while doing it. One morning I just stayed in bed, listening to the monks, smiling, wallowing under the lizblankets, talking to the weenie dogs, just spending time languishing.

This morning at my sunny bathroom sink, after, once again, not rising and ‘sticking to the schedule.’ I had an “ah-ha” moment, when I realized I’m tired of living in an ashram. Even Liz Gilbert didn’t do that for more than a few months, for fuck’s sake! And I realized I would much rather live at a spa now.

I am currently changing my mindset to “living in a spa” – you know, spa3the fancy, I-deserve-to-be-here-languishing-in-being-pampered type of spa. The one where you realize you want things to be really easy and fun. Where someone brings you things and you eat some ‘forbidden’ foods and might even gain some weight (gawd forbid!). I realized that I don’t want to be called out anymore by, what now feels like, my innerdrillsargent Drill Sergeant at 5am every morning to hit the road/rowing machine/yoga mat/etc.

I want to rest. I want to be pampered. I want to have fun. Don’t misunderstand: I loved “living in a ashram” for a few years. I was happy and had tons of fun doing that. It felt exactly right.

And I still love riding my bike everywhere – 7 miles a day, or more, on most days. I still work out, and I still love to meditate – to sit in the most excellent silence. But I’m not regimented about it any more. And if I need/want to skip something, I don’t freak out that I’m not adhering to the ashram’s schedule, somehow.

Fun is starting to look different than an ashram now. And for the first time in months, I feel hopeful and the beginning blush of happiness again.

crazy for you

“I’m bare-boned and crazy for you”
~Dave Matthews Band, Crazy for You

“Look for God like a man with his hair on fire looks for water.”
~Out of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

we were wild once
I promise not to let them tame me
please don’t let them tame you

the Answer: I am not tameable.


I’m bare-boned and crazy
for you
I’m wild-hearted and opened
for you

I’m hunkered into
the wait
can’t tolerate other
where are you?!

I’m wet-cheeked and longing
for you
I’m goose-bumped and searching
for youlove warrior

I’m my hair in your face, breathing your breath, whispering into your throat, merging into your skin,  intertwined with your eyes, pinned by your kiss, drunk on your smile, wild for your laugh, stunned by the depth, breathless with the height, stripped of my self, dead to the flesh, red hot and holy,

for you

Hypnotherapy Class Series: Open to Love

presented by Grace Cooley, Certified Hypnotherapist, Registered Psychotherapist
with special guest speaker Steve Horsmon, Certified Professional Life & Relationship Coach

For Women Only
Single or Partnered

Open your heart, energy, life and body to allow love
Connect with the juicy, sacred, powerful Divine Feminine Energy that you really are

open-hearts

Discover and Heal the subconscious beliefs/blocks that are
Keeping You from Experiencing Deep, Satisfying and Fulfilling Love
Take Charge of Your Life

Are you wondering why you’re still single, when all you want is to be in a fantastic, loving and fun relationship? Are you already in a relationship but can’t figure out why you seem to be on the outside looking in at it – why you can’t seem to really connect with and surrender your heart to your lover? Do you attract the same type of partner each time you try a new relationship?  Are you afraid to commit to him/her and a relationship?  Are you fearful of repeating the same mistakes you made in your last relationship?  Is your partner not “manning-up”?  Is THIS something you’d like to be able to play with in your life?

heart strawberryThis 5-part series (*plus bonus presentation By Steve Horsmon, professional Life and Relationship Coach*), utilizing Group Hypnotherapy, Journaling and Energy Work, will assist you in pinpointing, healing and releasing the issues/beliefs that are blocking your success in relationships of all types – especially romantic relationships.

Each class will include group hypnosis, journaling and sharing (at your comfort level).
Bring something to write with and something to write on/in.  Consider using a special journal to document this empowering journey for yourself.

I hear from women all the time who are having difficulty manifesting the relationship they want. They are working hard; they meditate, they visualize. They can’t understand what is wrong – why they have been praying, meditating and visualizing for years about this issue without seeing the results they want. They call me wanting a reading, so I can tell them what their Guides are saying about how to get what they want and when that will, hopefully, happen.

heart rock zipperYou may be familiar with the Law of Attraction – you get from the Multiverse what you put out to the Multiverse. What some don’t realize is that everyone emits their own, signature, unconscious frequency at all times. And according to the Law of Attraction, the Universe/Multiverse responds to give you more of whatever you are broadcasting. But what if you are broadcasting unconscious frequencies/beliefs that are sabotaging your relationships? Beliefs that are buried so deep that you aren’t even consciously aware of them? We will only receive from life, relationships and the Universe what we are inviting in – with the frequency we’re putting out – so we will be looking at how our beliefs and attitudes might be holding love, relationships and people at arms’ length. For a great perspective on this subject, check out this article.

krishnaHypnosis is like meditation or visualization or like daydreaming – only with the added benefit of having the Hypnotherapist there to keep you on track. Because my mind tends to wander when I meditate. Does yours too? That’s why I’m here, to help keep you focused from a gentle, outside, detached-from-the-issue place.

open-your-eyes-to-the-beauty-around-you-open-your-eyes-to-the-wonders-of-life-open-your-heart-to-those-who-love-you-and-always-be-true-to-yourselfTogether, we will gently ask your subconscious to reveal what is holding you back, so that you can offer healing and release to the subconscious beliefs/blocks to you living your best, most happy relationship. I am always honored to be allowed into your personal, sacred mind-space during hypnotherapy and group sessions, so rest assured that you are welcome and safe here. Even after the first session you will already feel lighter, more relaxed and open to love. And it just gets better from there.

I’m not in a romantic relationship either – and I want to be. So I know this class is just as much for me as for you. Let’s discover, together, what will open us to love.

It is such an exciting corner to turn when you take charge of your life and start to live the life you really want to live – when you learn how to find, change and heal those unconscious beliefs that are holding you back from being your very best, authentic Self!

heart rockClass info:

Tuesday nights – 6:30pm – 8:30pm in Downtown Fort Collins, CO
RSVP for location of classes and to reserve your spot – space is limited.
Please be prepared to take all the classes, as they build on each other

March 4 – Introduction to Hypnotherapy, Self-Hypnosis, and the Divine Feminine/Masculine – Assemble your Inner Team: Find your ‘Safe Place’, Inner Advisor, and Divine Feminine & Masculine Aspects

March 11 – Find your block(s) to love/happiness

March 18 – Heal and Release the block(s) to love/happiness

March 25 – Release the Past and Limiting Soul Contracts

April 1 – *Special Presentation by Steve Horsmon, Certified professional Life & Relationship Coach – “Your Feminine Power: Three Secrets to Helping Him Meet Your Needs”*

April 8 – Meet your Future, Sexy, Powerful, Self who is already in a wonderful relationship

$110 for all six sessions – paid at the first class, or $20 per session each time (a $600+ value if done in individual sessions)
cooley.grace@gmail.com to reserve your spot. Find out more about Grace here and right here.

steve horsmon photo

*About Steve Horsmon*
Steve Horsmon is a Certified Professional Life and Relationship Coach and founder of Good Guys 2 Great Men.

With a long corporate career in leadership and organizational training and development, Steve is a lifelong student and “passionate pursuer” of the communication and personal development skills required for healthy and satisfying relationships.

As an expert on relationship issues affecting single, married, and divorced men, Steve emphasizes the importance of men achieving clarity of their personal values – or Masculine Operating Principles. In addition to making commitments for personal improvements, his clients are also expected to become serious students of women, the nature of emotional safety, and human sexuality.

Using his consistent message of “we are absolutely equal, but we’re not the same”, Steve helps men choose to make changes within themselves that can lead to mutually rewarding intimate relationships with women. These changes are for one reason only – it helps them become the man they want to be.

Steve strongly believes in relationships built on an equal partnership of trust, respect, emotional safety, and intimacy. Men and women share the responsibility for making it happen. Steve coaches men on the power of choosing to “go first” with confidence and clarity. Many of his client referrals come from wives and girlfriends.

Find more information and an extensive blog archive at www.Goodguys2Greatmen.com. Find  his FaceBook page here.