Category Archives: love

Love is Infectious

via Daily Prompt: Infect

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My love walking the beach.

When we fall in love there is a chemical cocktail that is released into the body, literally infecting us with those feelings we call love.

Being attracted to another stimulates the body. If you feel elated, over-the-moon, energised, then dopamine has been released in your system. It works for other forms of elation too, winning a prize, gambling, sport, and drugs. Dopamine is the pleasure chemical.

Intimacy, closeness, bonding, means that oxytocin is in your system. Oxytocin is released when it gets physical, all that hugging, holding, kissing, touching, staring into each other’s eyes. Oxytocin calms and eneables intimacy and bonding. Sigh.

If sex is on the menu, then testosterone is in the system of both sexes. Testosterone is higher in males, and higher in male saliva, it is believed that kissing increases desire in both partners. Sex increases testosterone in the system.

Pheromones, those chemical messengers, also play a role in love, our noses are key to how we interact with others.

These chemicals work at the intense falling in love/sexual leel, but they are also released in long term relationships. They also impact in the four types of love, so that family, sibling, pet, and friendship also include feelings of love as these chemicals are released.

They’re the things I want to be infected with, the things of love, the elation, the focus, the bonding, the intimacy, belonging, joy, and the energy. Imagine if that infected the world!

The Beatles sang “All You Need Is Love” it was considered a trite song by many, and way too idealistic, and maybe that’s so, but there’s nothing wrong with poetic aspiration. I really liked then, Iand I like it now. And I beleive that love is all we need to change ourselves, and therefore, in turn, to change the world. It doesn’t seem that difficult.

Paul,

pvcann.com

20 Comments

Filed under chemicals, community, life, love, mindfulness, psychology, self-development, Sex

A certain Pedigree

via Daily Prompt: Pedigree

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The first edition cover of the novel “Lady Chaterley’s Lover” by D. H. Lawrence. Lawrence who published this privately in 1928 in Italy, then in 1929 in France and Australia. At that time the text was expurgated. An unexpurgated edition wasn’t published until 1960, in England, and an obscenity trial ensued againts the publisher – Penguin Books. Penguin won and ever since the novel has been in print.

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An original Penguin edition.

There are now several dozen covers, and different publishers from Bantam, Harper, Ace, to Wordsworth and more in the years since. Back in 1998, during the Perth Arts Festival, an English theatre company brought Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Perth and we decided to go. It was an adaptation for a two character play. It was produced in the grounds of the historic Tranby House on the Swan River (complete with hamper dinner). The play was steamy as are the sex scenes in Lawrences novel, but the play did miss the social commentary out, where Lawrence was critiquing the social order of post WW1 Britain and its classism. Lawrence was also deriding the British penchant for staid morality, at least on the surface. The novel certainly achieved that, but the play lost some of it. Nonetheless, it was well acted 🙂 and enjoyable.

The novel is set where I was born – Nottinghamshire, and where Lawrence grew up. My father’s family always maintained that the game keeper Mellors, while said to be a character based on a composite of real people, was in fact based on one of my father’s great-uncles, who had lived as Mellors had lived.

In another twist, that night, after the play had ended and the crowd had thinned, I went to speak to the director, and told him about that family legend. He told me it was likely true, and that this particular play adaptation was by a woman whose surname was Cannon. I’ve since forgotten her first name, she has most likely died since as she was well into her 70s then. But a real connection by name.

I haven’t pursued any of it as it simply makes for an interesting dinner story, and I have no need to pursue it really. But if it were true, and there are clues to suggest it is, then I have an interesting pedigree.

But pedigree aside, I have always been grateful for Lawrence’s work, and the theme of liberation in Lady Chatterley in particular. I found that my sexual identity wasn’t located in the stereo-typical moralisms of my parents, or religion, or the gatekeepers of society in general. That women weren’t stereotypically just mothers and trapped in a role. I was encouraged by Lawrence’s vision of potential class disintegration, that status and rights were fake compared to real feelings and self-expression. In many ways I experienced Lady Chatterley as iconoclastic, Lawrence tearing at claustrophobic and constipated society. He was ahead of his time in many ways, as his essays show. But he was also just in time – he was there writing and challenging when it was the right time, preparing for a new generation, inspiring others.

I hope we all have a pedigree that has a lineage back to people like Lawrence who stick their necks out for creativity, expression, free thinking, open-mindedness, generosity, and who are visionary, pushing the boundaries of society, looking for liberation, looking to transcend petty moralisms, and hinting at a deeper, richer maturity, not for its own sake, but for the sake of joy and life.

One of my favourite quotes from Lawrence:

“I shall be glad when yo have strangled the invincible respectability that dogs your steps.” 

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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Filed under community, creativity, history, life, love, mindfulness, quote, Sex

Elaborate Masks

via Daily Prompt: Elaborate

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An elaborate Renaissance Ball Mask. The masks were elaborate, but so was the ruse, an attempt to create mystery and tension, the possiblility of romance or illicit liasion. The masquerade was a feature of carnival season of 15th century Europe. In time masks became works of art. They were made of diferent materials, and bejeweled, like the one in the photo.

The masks we put on every day are not bejeweled, but they are clever, intricate, and very elaborate. If you want to read an early understanding the human mask, then Shakespeare is the one to read, and in particular, the ‘Taming of the Shrew.’ Psychologically, masks are a form of protection, we tend to mask anger, grief, anxiety, fear, a sense of failure, feeling like a fraud, needing to be the hero, the great intellect, and so on.

I have worked with people who use humour to mask what they perceive in themselves as a lack of sophistication. Others have thrown around biting sarcasm in order to keep others at bay. Some it is fear of success, so they play the incompetent. I have had the experience of never really knowing someone, at a funeral once I heard so much about someone I thought I knew, only to discover they had protected so much of their lives from public scrutiny, a compartmentalising. On another ocassion, when I was going through a difficult time, some said “I thought you had it all together” (like, really!!).

If we’re angry we may resort to condemnation, if we are grieving we might project happiness or amusement, anything but what we’re really feeling. That might be important at certain points in our lives, a boundary. But when it becomes avoidance, deception, fear, then we risk burying our true selves and others may never really know us. Even to the point that well entrenched masks become who we are. The question is, what are we trying to hide and why?

Jung developed the idea of the persona, the person we wanted others to know as ourselves, but not our true self.

I love this unattributed quote: “She threw away all of her masks, and put on her soul.”

That says it all. To dispense with the lie, the deception, which is really self-deception at best, the fear, and embrace our true selves, the raw self, the truly beautiful self. Created, bejeweled physical masks can be creations of great beauty. But the one who lives their true self, nothing could be more beautiful. We often use the phrase “warts and all”, meaning even our less good parts can be seen, our less succesful, less socially acceptable selves can be seen, yet this is healthy. The first step on the road of recovery is to know that we are never going to be perfect. And once we let go the ego, then masks become redundant because there is nothing to protect.

To put on our soul is to let go and find the juice of our lives and let that flow.

When we put on our soul, we are truly beautiful.

Hiding in layers
the weapons of deception
my real is naked

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under art, creativity, Haiku, history, life, love, mindfulness, poetry, psychology, quote

You Haul

via Daily Prompt: Haul

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That day! Moving out of home for the second time, this time permanently. The solemn art of leaving one family to start another. 1983, and the year Lyn and I got married, left Perth, and went to live on the family farm. The trailer we are loading is not a U-Haul by brand but a Coates Hire Service – Move It. But a U-Haul by any other name. Looking back it was a fun day really, and we hauled a lot of gear in a couple of trailers and my panel van, and it was trouble free.

What we weren’t fully in tune with at that point was that we were hauling other stuff as well, what we loosely refer to as emotional baggage. And that took time, patience, awareness, deep listening and support to release. Empathy won out and the baggage has somewhat reduced.

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The stored painful realites and fictions of life can be a massive burden if not acknowledged, spoken and released. Carrying alone can be crushing. Charles Dickens once said: “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to everyone else.” We can’t carry another’s baggage, we can’t make someone drop theirs, but we can share in lightening that baggage through empathic support. There’s that old saying, that it takes a village to raise a child. I think it takes a patient village, a friendship or two,  to help us see the baggage and to begin to let go.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Frigid or Just Unheard?

via Daily Prompt: Frigid

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Photo: http://www.cleverdicc.com

 

There is such a confusion and misrepresentation around this word, instead of being an adjective, it has become a poisonous weapon.

Frigid was, in my learning and memory, principally a word to describe extreme cold. It described being out in the snow, or the wind chill factor in winter, or the bodily reaction to cold water. Who could forget the US giant Frigidaire and the heavy marketing of the 70s and 80s across the world? Their campaign aimed at Australia was one of turning extreme heat successfully in cool temps.

Somewhere, sometime, someone in history used the word frigid to describe women who weren’t deemed sexually responsive. Nothing, I note about men, though if you are keen you eventually find the references to men as frigid as well, but historically it has been used to describe women, because, well, only women could be dysfunctional – as if the planet were so bifurcated, ridiculous thought, but purely old school male thinking. The word was used in the sense that the woman was icy, frosty, frozen shut, cold hearted, incapable of warm response, and so on.

What it denies, is the reality, like all cheap put-downs. A woman, or man, who is (possibly) unresponsive may well be just exhausted. They may be lacking empathy, warmth, connection, romance, validation, equality. They may feel used, objectified, enslaved, robotic. They could well be feeling taken for granted, or stuck in a rut. There is no end to the possibility of why anyone might be (mis)judged as frigid. Australian academic Jill Matthews in her seminal work “Good and Mad Women” shows how women who failed to live up to male or societal (thus male) expectations were deemed mad, and some (too many) were incarcerated in institutions for the mentally ill, and in recent history!

Researcher and therapist John Gottman makes it clear that through his institute’s research over three decades, they have discovered that the real key to any problem is communication. Trivial as that may sound, I believe that in a non-defensive and mindful moment you will find that to be true, if you reflect openly you will know that it comes down how you perceive, how you think, how you respond, often without reference to the other. Gary Chapman, another therapist founded his focussed work on love language and communication which became his best seller “The Five Love Languages.” Clearly, communication is the centre of relational issues, not “I’m right, you’re wrong” or “You need fixing, but I’m good.” To call someone frigid is to hide behind a projection, an intent to wound or put down, a way of controlling another, a way of making oneself look good by comparison (the death of most relationships). It is an avoidance of one’s own part in relationship at the expense of the other, and in some cases becomes abusive.

The upshot of research is that most men don’t listen, I mean really listen, that active listening. If it comes down to sex, and it doesn’t really, solely sit there, it goes back to expectations, often unrealistic and selfish expectations.

Watch your expectations! Don’t hide your own shortcomings behind the other, and check your communication skills.

Just to give you an insight into Gottman’s insightful work:

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, love, mindfulness, psychology, Science, self-development, Sex, Therapy

Photo Challenge: Smile

via Photo Challenge: Smile

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Lyn and Karen, a lovely photo taken 12 September 2013, on the occasion of Jon and Anna’s wedding. Smiles are both a reflection of joy and happiness in the moment, and also received empathically as joy and a reason to be joyful. I found the smiles infectious.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Betrayal Hurts

via Daily Prompt: Betrayed

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Photo: moviedb.org  – Richard Burton as Alec Leamas, the spy who takes on one more mission in East Germany, only to discover layer upon layer of deception, and his own betrayal (‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold’ by John le Carre), a story often used, and most recently in Atomic Blonde (from the graphic novel ‘The Coldest City’).

We’ve all tasted betrayal.

Betrayal is an auspicious topic for Good Friday. Today recognises the crucifixion of Jesus. One particular detail in the story, is the cold and public betrayal by his disciple Judas. Judas is dazzled by money, he’d been stealing from the communal purse and now he was enamoured with the thirty pieces of silver he was offered to publicly identify Jesus to an arrest party. As the story goes, Judas leads a party of soldiers and police to where Jesus is, and identifies Jesus by greeting and kissing him. Essentially the kiss of death for a man he professed to follow.

There are many classic stories of betrayal. The Song of the Niebulungs which tells of the betrayal of the dragon slayer Siegfried. Odin was considered by the Norse to be the god of frenzy and betrayal. Euripides’ famous story of how Jason abandons his wife Medea for a younger woman is chilling, it ends badly.

Modern stories abound. Anything by Graham Greene, but especially ‘The End of the Affair’, and classic spy stories are essentially betrayal stories especially as written by John le Carre.

The stories of betrayal, whether true or fiction, actually bear out the popular saying: “The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies, it comes from your friends and loved ones.” That’s why it hurts so much. Siegfried’s wife takes revenge, Medea kills the children, Alec Leamas chooses death even when he is able to reach freedom. We’re not told what Jesus thinks about betrayal, but he is consistent with his teaching about forgiveness and love, he refuses to stoop to the level of those who whip and kill him.

But for us mere mortals there is a piece of very sound advice to heed: “If someone betrays you once, it’s their fault; if they betray you twice, it’s your fault.” (Eleanor Roosevelt) Clearly boundaries matter. But even then …

I find myself drawn to what Jesus lived and taught – that forgiveness (properly understood) is life giving.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under community, history, life, love, Mythology, psychology, religion, self-development, Spirituality

Thought Provoking

via Daily Prompt: Provoke

If you haven’t seen the 2001 movie ‘Samsara’ it is a definite must, for me it has been a thought provoking movie. Don’t confuse it with the doco Samsara of 2012 from the makers of Baraka (a feast for the eyes), or a TV series of that name. This is a simple trailer, but you can find the full movie on Youtube (with subtitles).

The movie title ‘Samsara’ has a particular meaning in Buddhism. It refers to the endless cylcle of birth, death and rebirth, or put plainly – the life of suffering and dissatisfaction (dukka). The movie takes up this theme of suffering and dissatisfaction through the eyes and life of a Buddhist monk called Tashi. Tashi is awakened from a three year solitary meditation period in the mountains, he is now considered an enlightened being. When he returns to the monastery he finds his sexual urges awakening too, and he eventually leaves and marries Pema and runs a farm. But following an infidelity, and news of the death of his monastic mentor, Tashi is wracked by guilt, and eventually decides to leave Pema and his son Karma and return to the monastry. The movie is powerfully emotive, and is both a love story and a spiritual story. If you want to you can stay on the surface with Samsara, but you can also go deeper. Samsara delves into some key issues of life, love. sex, relationship, spirituality, fidelity, and integrity. It is in fact both a sad movie, and one that moves you and offers hope. It carries the message of the need to be careful in discerning one’s path in life, and that self is not always the best reference point in discerning our path.

One of the most thought provoking moments (among many) is the ending, where Tashi encounters a quote on a stone: “How can one prevent a drop of water from ever drying up?” to which the answer is given as: “By throwing it into the sea.” This is taken as a sign that he is drying up and needs to be back in the sea of the monastery. The overall theme is that life in the monstery life is not perfect, but there is more suffering in engaging the life beyond the monastery than inside it. It also speaks very clearly to me that one’s vocational path can become weary, but the grass is not always greener in other places or roles. In one sense, if you’re looking for a happy ending the movie doesn’t resolve well, and yet, if you look deeply into it, it does resolve well because everyone returns to what they believe they are called to be doing. However, the movie dies not condemn nor judge Tashi, but simply observes his choices.

For me the movie speaks strongly of choices yet of discerning the right pathway and being authentic to that pathway (dhamma). Other traditions would talk about sowing and reaping, or – what goes around comes around, or further still – be careful what you wish/pray for. It moved me deeply, I found it hard to rejoin the world for a time after the movie had finished, such was its impact on me. For me it invites the question of – what sea should I be thrown into in order that I not dry up?

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under community, environment, history, life, love, meditation, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, Spirituality

A Captivating Dream

via Daily Prompt: Captivating

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It is not slender, it is not pretty (to some), it is not straight or elegant or young. It is in fact old, gnarled and mishapen. It has obviously survived fires, storms, wind damage, dry spells and more. Yet it is captivating for the real life it offers. As with any tree it offers me the Co2 – O2 exchange that is vital to my very breath. It provides shade for the understory and any creature that passes by. Many living things exist in its bark, or depend on its leaves, transpiration, or shed detritus that helps form the humous at its base. Its blossom is a source of nectar for indigenous bees as well as European honey bees, and for a variety of insects. Its seed provides new life and is a food source too. Probably the fact that it is so gnarly has saved it from the tree fellers over the past four decades, so it is a survivor. Which just goes to show that looks aren’t everything. I was captivated by it. It is striking by comparison, and stands out in the forest of straight and elegant comapnions.

Back in 1980, the story of Joseph Merrick resurfaced through a movie made by David Lynch, called the “Elephant Man.” It had little chance of being uplifting, it was in fact, deeply saddening. Merrick died at 27 due to compications of his body weight to head weight ratio. I left the movie feeling quite heavy, mostly because of the lack of knowledge then to help him adapt to a better to life, and also because of how some in society treated him. Merrick was a real person, but not everyone treated him as such.

Scroll forward to another movie in 2001, “Shallow Hal” by the Farrelly Brothers. It was a comedy, but a very real look into the real potential for humanity to be superficial and shallow in regard to relationships. It had a manufactured ending, it was after all a work of fiction, so it ended well. But it resonated for me in my experiences of people who only see the surface of anything or anyone. But in reality, as we develop in life, we are all faced with the moment of choice – are relationships merely about taking, or are they mutual? The latter, of course, relies on our wholeness and our ability to see beyond self.

I am captivated by the life force and life giving capacity of the gnarled old tree. I was captivated by the story of Joseph Merrick and his struggle in the sea of human indifference, a short life that, perhaps, only pointed to the need for a better way, but that was something. And I was captivated by the desire of the makers of Shallow Hal to make the movie resolve in favour of true love, honesty, and integrity (but then, it is a hollywood production) in a world where, sometimes, the complete opposite is true in relationships.

My hope, dream, is that we will all be captivated by the real self in relation to other real selves, that we are not blindly becoming consumers of other people, that we’re not just in some symbiotic dependency, but rather in mutual and interdependent relationships that share values and dreams, love, compassion, and hope ….

In a time when our fellow life forms need advocacy, when sexual identity has become a battle ground, when class remains and economic injustice, and where wealth remains an obscenity, and where leadership has become a vacuous celebrity circus, we need the real.

I’m captivated by the potential of all forms of life, in particular, by the potential of humanity to excell and rise above shallow and look deeply inside to see the true beauty of all living things. Imagine.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Just Typical

via Daily Prompt: Typical

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A typical south coast scene, no whales to see though.

I wonder when you last refelcted on what is your typical pattern, your typical day, your typical behaviour (of which you’d best ask others opinion, as we’re a little blind to our quirks sometimes)? When was the last time you reviewed what is typical? The question is not aimed at getting you to change, just simply to become aware. On the other hand, who knows, maybe it’s time to change something(s). Could be anything, from social media habits, to one’s personal morning or evening regime, relationship patterns. It could be addressing blind spots, relationship black spots, or attending to awareness.

For me it has been to slow down my typical social media output and participation time, to set aside the news feeds (and the negativity) over the past two years.

Lyn and I participated in the Gottman Institute’s 30 day marriage challenge, a series of challenges to patterns and thinking and blind spots, a wonderful refreshment and conversation that has been deeply enriching for both of us. One of the outcomes has been to reorder our typical day which was in dire need of change. Not everyone can live in my chaos.

My intentional spiritual path is Christian (within the contemplative path) and for the great fast of Lent I chose to start simplifying my life by stripping out some of the collected detritus of life. I am a typical hoarder. I didn’t want to go hard core like the Minimalist Guys on a set scale, but to meander and ponder my way through it. So far so good, clothes, trinkets, books, have all been culled. Haven’t done that in years and felt great to lose some of that weight.

For me, reflecting on my typical patterns and processes has not only been productive and helpful, it has refreshed and invigorated my life, an, I have a new awareness of myself and those around me.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, love, mindfulness, minimalism, nature, Philosophy/Theology, religion, self-development, Spirituality