#2 Selfie Love!

Who's responsible for Self Love, and a bit more about Heather and Christopher!

 c: We're sharing a bit of who we are, and how we got to this very stage.

c: My first appreciation of the feminine, I was age 6 - this was in Trinidad, where I was born. I remember one night at a strangers home during a massive tropical storm.  I remember curling up on the floor thinking the world is going to end.  I don't know who, but someone I didn't know pulled me close and held me. 

h: What a blessing. 

c: I forgot this episode in my life for 30 years.  It was only a few years ago the memory came back to me.  Besides being born, that was my first interaction with the feminine.

h: You mean a feminine energy other than your mother’s?  

c: My mother had me, but there was no bond. This was my first connection.  My second was a woman in her 80s - I was 12.  The moment I met her she just enveloped me. It was nothing I'd ever felt before, she wrapped me in grace.  I knew this, this was feminine. 

h: How would you define what that felt like?

c:  Pure love.  There's no thinking about it, there’s no agenda about it. It’s love. Pure, pure, pure.  I've spent my whole life chasing feminine through women, or what I thought was feminine. But what I was chasing was not necessarily connected.  I mean it can be, but..

h: There are many other things at play.

c: For me, feminine is not necessarily of woman.  It's spiritual. 

h:  It's an energy source, not the embodiment of a woman. And I really like that you've mentioned cause I think we both have the shared belief that feminine transcends physical form, that it’s within women and men. 

c: I believe this energy, in its makeup, is embodied and expressed in the feminine and can be done through men as well. 

h:  I've felt that from men, that pure sense of love.  As far as a good parent goes,  a child is able to get masculine and feminine love whether they have two moms or two dads.  They're able to get both love and discipline. Both are of value. 

c: In regard to the discipline end of the equation, it's critical as well. 

h: It is critical. When we don't have that self-discipline, we don't keep our wellness in check it’s easy to live glutinously and without reason.   There's 7 sins there somewhere.  Is lust really a sin?

c: We can play with that one a little bit.

h: Sometimes in very loving relationships, it's full of lust and there's that fire and electricity. There's something beautiful about that.

c:  What about lust for thy neighbours?

h: As long as they're consenting. It's like the tv show Friends, the neighbour across the way that's always naked, and you watch him.  I've done that a little bit, not on purpose, just notice my windows were open a little bit. I don't know, it's my house I'm not going to be so worried about coming out in my underwear.  I just had a roommate come to look at my place and she's all about parading around in the body she's been given. I'm saying this because, ladies out there… it’s very freeing.  There's something about embracing your body exactly how it is no matter what it looks like. It's Beautiful, it's your vehicle to express yourself and explore your 5 (or more) wonderful senses.  Don't be ashamed about it, being naked is very freeing. Even if you don't like yourself at first.

c: I think that’s an essential element to the feminine, freedom of a body in motion. 

h: I know so many ladies out there, and I don't know a single one that is fully happy with their body. Hopefully this message can be a step towards better self body image. There's so much of that little voice inside of us saying you're not enough here, you're not enough there. Shame on you for this, shame on you for that.  You've got to stop that voice in its tracks, catch it and fill it instead with something like, hey at least I like my ankles today. I think they look pretty darn good. And work your way from there.  And you have to love your vagina, you just have to love it because it’s just your pleasure zone. We all have the right to orgasm.  I know so many women who are not having orgasms.  That’s heart wrenching to me. I believe that this is on a continuum with being able to enforce your boundaries.  Because when you don't have the expectation of pleasure and that you are only there for your partner's pleasure you lose sight of what you really want to do and try, it’s convoluted with ideas of what you think your partner expects or wants. That’s very dangerous to your sense of self. When you're doing things that may not be comfortable with but you feel that you have to.  Or that sex isn't really that fun for you anyways so what does this matter?

c: We need to step further and look at the taboo.  Sex is a taboo in a lot of cultures, and in a lot of conversations, so there’s added guilt in deriving joy from taboo. 

h: Why don't men then? 

c: These taboos are skewed for sure, a man are expected to be experienced if he is to be a good husband, whereas the woman had to be a virgin to be a good wife.  These are old traditional views and values; many of them brought forward by the church. 

h: Yes, religion is a big part of it. But also conservative mindsets.

c: But where did those begin?

h: Fascinating question.  I think it originates from the fact women can be impregnated.  She had to be extremely careful.  Pregnancy, that's a given, but those who are on the receiving end are 6x more susceptible to STIs.  

c: There was a time in human history when there was no knowledge of the correlation between sex and pregnancy.  Why women got pregnant was a mystery.  In the origins of human evolution, men weren't around, they would show up to mate and were off like nomads. 

h: Women must have been hunting too, in the times she wasn't pregnant.  She would have been extremely fit and able to fend for herself. 

c: We decry the patriarchy, however, that’s a family based system, of making men responsible for his children and for the woman who birthed his offspring.  It’s how man - the beast - was tamed. 

h: But the patriarchy also controlled every other bit of her movement, every bit of her sexuality, her money, her ambition.  It's bullshit.

c: However, there are other elements involved not just the structure of a patriarch, there are other social influences.

h: It's not the only thing at fault, but it a huge contributing factor.  There are other systems at play. I believe that colonialism is alive and well, that the current state of the world where colonial powers similar to those of the First World War.  There's death and destruction every single day. Every day! We are so desensitized to how bad it truly is.

c: Desensitized and overwhelmed.  Those who care turn away.

h: We need to find an entrance point in order to do something but where is that answer? No one knows how to collapse the current system.  One major step forward is if we all start talking and acting like global citizens rather than being so nationalistic.  How do we all work together to make this a strong planet? 

c:  We see it as social, as political, we see it as a bigger picture, but how do we change the individual? The human individual. That's where it starts, that's the only place where we can see change. How do we change that attitude? Reopen that mind that is closed, that does not want to be changed?  The mind that does not want to be opened? How do you change that? 

h: Present new ways of thinking in a way that's fun and meaningful, thought provoking.

c: How do humans change? When something traumatic happens. Something has to force us to change.

h: Or we see the value [for oneself] in the change. 

c: It’s very rare that those who are entrenched and believe they have an advantage will give that up for anything other than trauma. What’s that trauma going to be? War can be that trauma! Unfortunately, that’s the way it has been in the past. Nations can come together and band together saying we believe in this against that so we’ll band together, work together and be allies.

h: There's still a divide of allies globally, it hard to see where we're going to find middle ground. It's such a huge difference in values on multitude sides and all sides feel entitled.

c: I think the best we can do is give a damn and then do something about it. People have to give a damn. 

h: Normally, until a person is personally affected, they don't give two damns.

c: People are busy attempting to survive, day to day.  It’s a struggle enough to survive and provide for family; that comes first, and it should come first.  Beyond that, everyone is on their own. 

h: There has already been so much devastation.  It's time for more of the good, there hasn't been enough of that. 

c: We hear about the bad. It's in our face. The good is there, we need to look for it. I don't believe that humans are predominantly bad, I think we choose to look at that more often than the good. 

h: I believe we all have good and evil within us and that sometimes we feed different parts.

c: We need good and evil.  If we were all good, we would all be sitting outside the gates of  Eden waiting for someone to take the lead. 

h:  I think good and evil creates a depth and a spectrum of emotions and ways to function. I think that there is a beauty in the depth and that sometimes suffering helps us to appreciate the good. And maybe that's just one way of thinking. I'm not saying that you want to live too much in suffering but in the people I've spoken with, those who have a greater appreciation of when times are good, it is because they have also truly struggled. 

c: There is a reason we have a range of emotions. We are to experience them all because we learn from all of them. The ones we covet and want to feel all the time, they teach us something. However, they don't shine until we've been at the absolute opposite end. Then we can gravitate back to being the shining light. However, to remain in that light all the time is to remain static and never grow.  It's about not lingering in sadness and despair, nor in the glee and delight.  Not to avoid going down into the dark when life is taking you down there.

h:  Yes, if you push it aside and push it down, it lingers. That's why I find that when you're experiencing sorrow and anger, finding ways to express it is so necessary. Finding your own way of expressing that is very powerful. Some people use exercise some people, use painting, some do kick boxing.  But getting that physical release out of you! Hah!! I think it's really good for your soul.   One of the joys of this lifetime. 

c: And the pains of this lifetime too.

h: It fluctuates. 

c: That's the beauty of it, it's both. The emotional range is phenomenal. 

h: I have a lot of respect for people with a positive outlook who have gone through so much. They just have that drive and won't let anything hold them back.

c: Knowing I'm bigger than this, I'm greater than this. I'm brighter than this. 

h: Just watch. Don't believe me just watch. 

c: We haven't heard anything personal from you?

c: What got me here? What exactly took me on this path.  I think it was when I understood that it took my mom 3 years, and counselling, and lot of encouragement from friends, to leave her husband, my father. It wasn't physically abusive, they simply weren't good for each other.  It was hard for my mom to build up her self-courage, self-esteem and self- worth and to think I can do this. I've been a stay at home mom for 5 years, worked a secretarial job before this, but can I do this? Can I go back into the workforce to make enough money to support my little girl, and give her energy and love?  It took her 3 years! Today, I am still so proud of her for doing that because I don't know where we'd be if she didn't have the brave soul to make that choice.  Then I thought, how more difficult it would be if there was physical abuse, and sexual abuse, and maybe you don't speak the language in the country you live in.  There's a lot of different reasons why it would be difficult to leave a circumstance like that, and I just saw it from that point and knew that I had to be able to take care of myself.  Being a full person in any relationship I would have to be enough on my own to care for my offspring and for myself if needed. That's how I've lived my whole life, and I give my mom kudos for assimilating that in me, indirectly.  In my relationships as an adult, I look for someone who comes as a full person, not as two halves make a whole, but that two [or more] wholes make a team.  The couples I see who are on fire, who get so much done, they're both so encouraging of each other's goals, they're both thriving and learning and figuring out ways to actually raise kids, and have a family together rather than one person [often the wife] having to carry the brunt of the house work and rearing the kids. 

c: So this is the avenue that got you to this point?

h: Yea, it gets me all riled up.  In university, I went through every single course you could take as an undergraduate, and I mean every darn one of them.  As I began to pick my courses and carve my way out of the woodwork to predominantly take Women's Studies and Political science courses. I had the pleasure of working with some amazing women, men and people of all genders in the Women in Leadership Club, and the Women's Resource Centre at the University of Calgary.  We held discussions on healthy relationships, and the deconstruction of the work-life balance, and women and sexuality.  The thing young girls are going through these days breaks my heart. Just all of the worry, all of the time with how they look.  Thank you to the hippie ladies out there and those who chose not to shave because, for those that do shave - if you have a bit of stubble, you’re worried about that.  If your hair isn’t just right - you’re worried about that. You’re not thinking ya, I’m doing this presentation, let’s hammer out all the details that I think are important. Instead you’re wondering, how do I look to everyone else?  It doesn’t matter, just come from your own hobbies, interests and passion.  And on the sexual side of things, when we don’t open an arena for young, budding youth to talk about pornography and sexuality, they don’t have a critical eye towards what they’re seeing. It has become very commonplace, at least in my experience, and the women I’ve spoken with, that they understand what consent is. But they don’t feel the power to enforce those boundaries. The expectation is so high and that is heartbreaking. 

c: There’s this need to be loved.  This yearn to be loved, the piece between acceptance and love.  The need to appear a certain way, to act a certain way. These standards that have been set down that now women are struggling to meet on a daily basis.  If I am to be loved - I need to look this way.  If I am to be loved - I am to act this way. 

h: I don’t think its just loved, it's to be admired and to feel connection. 

c: What we don’t teach is how to love yourself.  We’re looking for an idea of love, all types, forms, shapes and sizes of love.  Even in beating the crap out of someone there is a significance in the attention; from even that we can derive love.  For women, physical dominance or violence is not so much a vehicle, they have a different expression to attract and garner love from the world around them. In that case, it comes with a caveat, you have to look at act a certain way.  If you’re going to beat the woman next to you and be loved, you have to be better than her, look better than her, project better than her. 

h:  Which isn’t true. I can see that when people are in a zero sum mind state and I need to outshine in order for someone to find me lovable.  I guess, as far as frequency goes in how to achieve more attention or opportunities to be loved, you need a good first impression and you need to communicate who you are.  Do you think there’s a way to dismantle this competition between women, or is it biological that there is this competition between us?

c: There is a bigger factor at play here, the bigger factor is what things we socially have decided to put our value in.  It isn't just my values, it's the bigger social value - the whole. And that puts pressure on the individual to live up to whatever that value bar is.  You talk about advertising industries that promote a certain image that women must meet in order to gain what they truly want. Attention or love, that is the prize, it controls your personal actions, how you carry yourself, what you allow from others. That is a factor as well. 

h: I really like what you’ve said there and I’ve mapped it out here. The cultural values are like this umbrella.  Your personal value is in there somewhere, you also have your cultural values, religious values, familial values, peer and friend values.  With an arrow all pointing to how do I make myself lovable, and appealing enough to be loved. 

c: That is enormous pressure. If you don't have the education, and the bottom line is we don't teach anyone to love yourself.  Love you, and everything else will follow.  We look for validation, look for someone else to tell us who we are, validate us, as we project who we are to them.  This has to fold inward.

h: I completely agree, self-love is not taught to us. The constant need for validation is ever fleeting and never fulfilled. To look within to see what fulfills us, and recognize what brings us harmony and balance, and being filled with love. This is very tricky to do when the messaging we are receiving say you're no good at this, and at times it is the voice of others.  I'm sure we've all been there where the ego is self-inflated. I am so good at this.  We've gotta find that middle ground when you don't put yourself on a pedestal, but still, appreciate what your value is. Not in contrast to others but instead what you are.

c: We have to walk a lot of fine lines in the course of our lives, always on that border between taking it too far, to our own detriment, or not taking it far enough, to our own detriment.  It's education, finding yourself makes it possible to walk that line quite comfortably. 

h: One foot in front of the other,  maybe a little skip, or a lil hop!  A little frolicking!  I'm picturing us in a field, holding hands.

c: I'm not one that expects everyone to see eye to eye or mind to mind.

h: I embrace debate, I believe it strengthens our beliefs, and we are able to learn pieces of knowledge we didn't know.  If we only see one way, we don't open up to how other people have lived an experienced, then you don't know the full picture of a choice, or a policy, or a consequence.

c: We can go back to the beginning of our conversation, the state of our world, us against them. Why it continues, why it perpetuates. 

h: We need to find more of that win - win mentality

c: That’s in education beyond education, beyond what University teach. If you could learn that, the power of that.

h: Starting at a young age, I mean for those already past that point, it's never too late.  I think at the heart of win -win is deconstructing the zero sum gain mentality. That being that your loss is my gain. The more we keep thinking like that, the more we will see destruction and greed. Win- win sees what each other is good at and builds on each other's strengths to build something even more bad ass.

c: Yes, unfortunately, our school system is about doing better than the other guy.

h:  Well I would say that's more in the workforce.

c: It is in school as well, it's competition. 

h: I would say not so much in school because you can say, I am striving for my personal best and if jimmy gets A’s, good for jimmy.

c: What is asked in schools? 

h: A’s but not because jimmy got A’s, because A’s are the highest grades.

c: And what about — your sister got A’s, why can't you?

h:  I guess when you're comparing siblings, it happens. But I wouldn't say that with other kids. At least I didn't look at other kids with higher marks and thought I liked them any less because of their grades, it was more about who they were. However you look at the corporate world, and who is going to get the next raise. Ya better believe they're thinking that. I don't even know how you get out of that mentality or circumstances because it is framed as you against me. 

c: A scarcity mentality. 

h: Is there a way to get out of that? Something along the lines of how do we both get a raise? Both get that promotion?  I'm just trying to look at it differently.

c: I'm sure there are systems like the communist system wanting to speak out right now and say I think I have an answer to that!

h: And then our ego would say nope, I need to have ways to feel superior to others, ways to get ahead. There's a drive in us that thrives on that.  Although my mom went to Cuba a while ago and in their communist system everyone makes the same paycheque no matter what their occupation — car mechanic, doctor, teacher, and lawyer.  It was hard for me to wrap my head around it because in our society we position ourselves so much around our occupation, or how much schooling we've done to hold this position, authority, or influence.  She said that even though the people are poor, they're happy.  They find different ways to relate and bond, not just around class or occupation.

c: I had a friend report the same and my question is this, what has Cuba achieved over the past decades?  What has Cuba created that is unquestionably Cuban and the world has benefitted from?

h: I’m sure there are some things, but nothing comes quickly to mind which is unfortunate. But I'm sure there are.

c: You'll have to research that because yes it may be euphoric to be in a system where everyone is happy, but I go back to this, if I'm sitting in the light the whole time, am I going to reach and go further? Or do I just sit there? 

h: That motivation piece is so key for human beings.

c: Exactly, that's growth. Yes, we can sit and be blissful and happy, everyone kumbaya, but do we progress as a human race? Do we move forward? 

h: Not as quickly.

c:  There's young and yang to both approaches. We tend to see the bliss in Cuba, we compare it to what we have and say what a fantastic social structure, however, there are weaknesses to it as well. Sorry Cuba.

h: You have amazing dancing and I've met some absolutely wonderful people from Cuba. Just opening up new ways of thinking, chatting about it. How do you really promote this motivation and growth that we speak of while not living in this you against me, scarcity mindset?

c: It goes back to this, if you're comfortable in your skin, it doesn't matter what the other person does. I'm going to say, whoa yea! Cool!

h: I'm gonna do me and you can do you. Nice look at that cat over there doing their thing. 

c: It comes back to not needing to compare because dude I'm good. 

h: I’ve noticed in my life that the less I compare myself to others, the less competitive I am. I think, I'm doing my own thing - getting it popping, you're doing your thang and you're thangs popping.  Cause that's what it takes when people have good ideas, you've got some people on your team. 

c: It doesn't matter how far I go with any topic, there's always going to be two sides to it. If you look at competition and think it's bad, I'm sorry but it's also good. 

h: I don't think there's even just two sides. Most things are multi-pronged 

c: So we need to get off this, this is only bad or this is only good because that's just not the case.

h: But there are mechanisms to make it not so great for one and terrible for another. You know what I mean? It's okay that compete, but how you conduct yourself in competition is part of the answer. 

c: The reason I enjoy sports is simply that. We can give our best and if the other team won, I just need to train harder, and we all keep growing.  There's bad to that as well because we can take that to a destructive point as well.

h: Potential for self-sabotage is always lurking. People can wallow in those thoughts. 

c: Give me hell but give me growth

h: And then give me some peace, and growth.

c: That is the magic of life. Contribution and growth. 

h: Contributing to yourself and to others.

c: Yes to give back, you've been given a gift - pass it on, pass it forward.

h: Cheer for someone else. There's a lot to be learned in cheering for someone else.

 

c+h

Chris Kennedy