Thanks to KelzBelzPhotography, my first “follower” – this one’s for you!
Laughing at Overwhelm
When overwhelmed, just acknowledge it happily and stop. don’t quit – just stop. You can do it later.
I learned a few Japanese words today, but I’ve forgotten them already. That’s fine – and to be expected.
I asked my friends about the words they used – knowing full well that I was going to forget. I felt that old familiar feeling of overwhelm – but I know that bastard well by now. I could have written down the words, and studied them, etc. But why?
The solution to overwhelm isn’t to fight it. It’s to keep showing up.
In the “Japanese” example, I could feel bad for not remembering, but that’s just foolish. I made a big step, asked some questions, and got an explanation of two similar-sounding words. I’m not likely to remember the difference between “uke” and “ukemi”, but at least I know it exists.
Remember, when you try to fight through overwhelm you give in to the voice of judgement (VOJ). You could tell yourself:
“I should be able to do this.”
“There’s something wrong with me for not being able to do this.”
“If I just work harder and obsess about this, maybe I can do it.”
Be careful, this is how to start a vicious cycle (a negative feedback loop). When overwhelm shows up, let go of the situation and just laugh at yourself. If someone presses you to keep trying, just take a pause (or walk away if they’re really insistent). If you are pushing yourself to keep trying, that’s a different matter. Ask yourself:
Does it matter if this get done now?
Won’t it be okay if I try again later?
Will anyone care if I don’t do this right away?
If you’ve committed to someone to do this task, then do it – and don’t accept as much responsibility next time. However, this usually isn’t the case. Oftentimes, we do things out of false obligation. We believe others will be disappointed in us if we don’t do it now.
A great example is if you learn someone’s name and then forget it. Asking for their name again can be embarrassing, especially if you’ve gotten to know them a bit. But, what’s the alternative? Waiting until someone else uses their name? That’s just paranoid – you don’t have to appear better than you are. Be yourself, your flawed self. If someone doesn’t accept you – great – they’ve done you a huge favor. If someone rejects you, the’ve just removed an asshole from your life (themselves). Be glad!
Look at it like this: an attempt that results in stepping back from overwhelm is just one less time you have to do this before you succeed. The key isn’t judgement, hard work, or suffering – just never give up. Keep showing up, keep learning, and trust that you will eventually succeed. This takes faith – not religous faith, but faith in yourself. Believe that after however many attempts, you will succeed.
When cutting down a tree, does the lumberjack (or lumberjill) count the saw strokes or axe chops? (pretend chainsaws don’t exist)
No, all that matters is that each effort gets you closer to the goal.
Of course, you can’t see your progress in some activities as well as you can when cutting down a tree. But it doesn’t matter. Each time you walk up to the border of overwhelm and get flustered, it’s just one fewer time you need to do that before you’ve succeeded.
This “overwhelm rule” is VERY important when exchanging energies. We’ll start with a small example of accepting affection:
Today, someone snuggled into me (just a bit) in an innocuous moment. It wasn’t appropriate for me to react (that’s why it was safe for her to flirt in the first place). So, I did nothing – I accepted her energy in a grounded state. I didn’t respond by making too much of it (and ruining it). Conversely, I didn’t stiffen up or otherwise reject her advance.
When someone offers you good energy in the form off affection, just accept it. Don’t get greedy for more, or reject it out of fear. I’m guilty of both, at times, but the following example is of being too greedy.
A woman with whom I had a great potential for Starlight put her head on my shoulder for the first time. This was especially important because we were in a place where people who knew her could walk by and see us. I accepted it for minute, and then fucked it right up. I tried to put my arm around her, and she got skittish. She offered to hold hands, instead. The encounter (and the relationship) petered out after that.
So, if you’re playing the role of the grounded (as opposed to skittish) partner in an encounter, remember that all of your power comes from balancing your energies, not from trying to increase the “temperature” of the interaction. You’re the leader, and you have the power – don’t give it away. Conversely, don’t use this power of attraction to hurt or cruelly tease your partner. (You could this by withdrawing sometimes – playing hot and cold.)
Balancing Sexual Energies
Power is about much more than power games. These games are usually petty and a waste of time. However, feel free to engage in sexual and relationship role-playing. Done correctly, this is a very healthy expression of power games (because we acknowledge them as roles, and don’t confuse them subconsciously with reality)
To learn balance, first examine the different types of energy you’ll be working with. Imagine you’re in bed with your lover. Your sexual energies are aflame, creating a firestorm of qi. This can be very enjoyable, but in order to have a higher experience in sex you must balance these forces. Remember, balance these forces, don’t try to eliminate them. That can lead to all kinds of drama.
These sexual energies include:
- Physical Energies – We exert ourselves and burn more than a few calories, which can cloud our minds. Imagine doing a math problem while exercising or playing a sport.
- Mental Energies – These are manifested quite obviously in the roles we choose to play sexually, whether communicated to our partner, or just in our own minds.
- Emotional Energies – Our instincts to possess and fascinate our partner are very strong during sex. These animal passions are very important, and provide the raw fuel for our practice – but they must be managed wisely.
Now, snuggling’s a pretty tame example, so let me give you another one – at the other end of the Tantric spectrum. One excellent example of balancing very intense energies is from my third (and most recent) experience of Starlight:
After both of us had experienced at least one orgasm, we were still very passionate about each other. The urgency of orgasm behind us, we sat facing each other, kissing. My partner was very engrossed in the kissing, which began to make me feel uncomfortable. (She was pushing too much qi on me.)
I grabbed her firmly by the hair at the back of her head. (Behaviors relating to “rough” sex like this were totally acceptable and well-negotiated in our relationship.) I pulled her slightly away from me, making her work harder to reach my lips. Soon thereafter, we entered an ecstatic state.
This worked because I was balancing her need and my ability to handle it. I didn’t allow myself to be overwhelmed.
I didn’t reject her urgent kisses, but I didn’t accept more than I could handle, either. Instead, I discovered the boundary between kissing and not kissing. Our lips didn’t touch, except for the lightest occasional brushes. This technique is also practiced (more sweetly) by placing palms together, almost touching – but not quite. Please try this with your hands before attempting it while kissing – it’s easier to balance your energies and less likely to “spook” a less-experienced partner.
Anyway, by holding her back enough to kiss this way, we were able to balance our energies 50/50. I can’t speak to what happened next, except to say that we left the mundane world inside each others’ eyes. In her words, “Perhaps the only experience of divinity we can have in this life is in each other.”
Tantra is all about trust, balance, and communication. When you have the urge to push ahead to a more intense practice, ask yourself:
- Have you mastered this technique?
- Has your counterpart mastered it?
- Are you ready to move on?
Be sure to balance both your energies and your intensity. You’ll be AMAZED at the results!
Good luck – please leave a comment letting me know how this worked out for you!