Month: January 2015

I don’t really know what this post is about (but it’s not sex.)

aka: Random semi-coherent abstract loosely connected somewhat-logical philosophical un-sexy musings and ramblings about living. 

There’s usually three different arguments in regards to the happenings in life.  The first goes something like “Heathen! Everything happens for a reason because it’s (**insert your god/gods/entity/demon/timelord here**) plan!” (Though if you chose timelord I can’t argue with you… because you’re awesome.)  Also in this category is “IT IS YOUR DESTINY!” type thinking.  Second is the opposite idea like “Idiots.  Nothing happens for any reason.  Our existence and everything that happens is just a random coincidence fueled by variables and probability.”  So then naturally the third possibility is the moderate approach of “Some things are meant to happen, but we have free will and can go in the direction we please.  We can make things happen, our future is yet unwritten.”  Simplified, it boils down to fate, coincidence, or a bit of a sandbox.

124_timelords

Some Time Lords are better than others…

Based on what I’ve written before, you can assume I’m either the first type (cycles?) or the third.  Acknowledging any real system at all basically kills option two because it disagrees with anything that indicates an organized (by what?) system. Without ranting too much about religion (because I’m just not a fan of organized religion…) I’ll go ahead and say that I don’t want to believe in option one because, frankly, it’s a terrifying prospect to simply exist with no purpose other than going through predestined motions.  Fortunately it doesn’t make a lot of sense either though.  Why would god (Timelords don’t do that anyway…) bother giving the ability to reason and be creative to drones that are simply going to run their course anyway?  For an omniscient being that’s pretty wasteful, and quite honestly a shitty system design.

So let’s go with option 3: the “sandbox”.  This essentially says we belong to a system, probably one architected by something, somewhere that we don’t and possibly can’t understand.  This is a more comforting idea for a number of reasons.  It leaves room for a naked, white-beareded, benevolent man chilling up on a cloud surrounded by little winged babies with instruments.  It also leaves room for a lizard master race that wants to use us as slaves (fortunately the time lord will probably save us from that.)  But deities aside, what makes this ideal is the fact that it leaves room for both purpose, and reason.

“Why are we here?” is one of the oldest questions out there, and lots of people (including me) think they have the reasons figured out.  But let’s try to avoid the overly-spiritual side for now and stick with the logical.  “Sandbox” logic says we exist in a self-sustaining system.  Which means, in fact, that we are a component of that system.  Could it go on without us?  Yep, it might even be better off, but it would be very very different.  A key component of a self-sustaining system is the ability to adapt.  We actually mirror that trait as self-sustaining, adapting systems ourselves.  So the basic answer is, we are here because we’re a part of an ever-adapting system, and we would continue to be, except that we have this silly free will that causes us to continuously add and change a great number of variables in this system.  The truth is that humans are really fucking things up. It should be utter chaos, and some people think it is, but it’s not really.  Instead, despite the massive disruptions we’ve caused, the system continues to adapt.  Maybe it won’t indefinitely, but for now it’s hanging in there.

Oops.

Oops.

But why would it?  Think about it: nature is beautiful, but it’s also harsh and unforgiving towards it’s predators.  If it were up to a mindless, instinctive system, I don’t believe humans would exist.  The only explanation is that the system was designed to allow for the bullshit humans pull.  So it becomes a matter of intelligent design (That said.. allowing humans to exist doesn’t seem that intelligent on the surface… but faith, ya know?)  But rather than shooting back to option A and saying everything is scripted (that would be really un-intelligent design…) this supports the idea that the system is set up for us, and parameters are set, but we get to navigate it the way we choose.  Some things are meant to happen on our individual paths, but if we really choose to, we can fight that… and usually face the consequences.   Consequences aren’t a punishment, it’s just what happens when you think you know what’s better for you than the supposed relatively omniscient mind that laid out your path.  The system is set up knowing that some people will always want to “fight the power”, even if it’s actually good for them.

Now (I know.. by now you’re like “Jesus.. get back to the sex posts…!”) let’s be optimistic and assume whatever charted your path did so with the idea you will experience what you need to.  The sad truth is, what people need to experience isn’t always happy.  In some cases it’s really, really fucked up.  The reasons for this on a spiritual and philosophical level could fill up a whole series of posts, but the reason for this on a logical level is pretty simple:  The system can’t support that sort of imbalance.  If nobody died, the system as it is now would crash catastrophically in a very short time.  The key element to any self-sustaining system (including ourselves) is balance.  When thrown out of balance, the system will do whatever it needs to (indifferently) to right itself.  That’s why bad things happen to good people, people die for no reason and sometimes people who really don’t deserve to get ahead do anyway.  In some way the system has to rebalance itself, and it quite frankly doesn’t care if you like how it does it or not.

But since you’re reading this, you’re one of the many who fall on the fortunate side of this system.  Thus far you might’ve had a hard path, but comparatively you are able to sit and spend time reading a blog rambling on about some obscure philosophy, so you’re not doing half bad.  Well, think of all the shit you got through to get here.  I’m willing to bet if you go only a couple years back, things have happened you never would’ve planned for.  Now if you think about all the steps that led you here, some of them made no sense at the time, and even seemed detrimental, and yet everything fell into place to get you here.  

I didn't say it would always be easy regardless...

I didn’t say it would always be easy regardless…

Perhaps where you are right now isn’t where you want to be.  Well, you do have the power to change it, and you have choices as to how.  You can try to abruptly change your direction and charge another way in blind defiance, but that very rarely helps anyone.  You can swim against a river for a while if you are strong enough, but you will go farther, faster, with less effort if you go with the current.  So another option is to charge forward with the current; head down and paddling with all your strength.  This will get you the farthest, fastest.  The problem with this is that you will eventually burn yourself out, and either sink or be at the mercy of the current.  So the obvious choice to me, is to flow with the river, using your energy to keep your head up, avoid dangers and grab what you can find to help you.  The other advantage to this is that it’s the easiest way to link up with others traveling the river in the same way.

All river metaphors aside, if you choose to believe you have paths laid out for you, driven by your choices, then you will also begin to see signs that give you some hint as to which path will go where.  All those seemingly random events and choices throughout your life have magically chained together to bring you to who and where you are now.  If you’re reading this, you’re not done.  The good news is, beyond all the endless complication and self-importance humans bring to their lives, there is only one thing any of the three options I mentioned earlier expect of you.  Choose, and act.

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Sexual Dynamics, Part 2: Making Love

My first thought (and perhaps yours) is: “Why do you think you’re qualified to write about this!?”  I’m not.  I’ve had my brushes with the grey areas over the years, and let’s say that at times maybe it refreshed my memory, but I haven’t been consistently, romantically, lovingly involved with somebody for nearly a decade.  So am I an expert on the fine art of love-making as I feel I was for hooking up?  Fuck no.  But I’ll give it a shot anyway, maybe I can paint an ideal, unrealistic picture for us all!

This is less love and more a fire hazard...

This is less love and more a fire hazard…

So what’s the difference between sex and making love?  Rose petals? candles? magic?  No, not really.  It comes down to comfort and trust.   Yep, that thing I’ve talked about as being dangerously bad in the past is one of the defining differences between hooking up and making sweet love.  Trust is a given, if you don’t trust your partner, you have no business being with them and claiming you love them.  In my experience, even if you don’t automatically trust the person you love, you choose to.  So with that in mind, if you trust your partner mentally and emotionally, it seems reasonable that physical will follow.  Especially when the element of communication is present.  As I’ve said, that’s pretty essential for any sort of good sex, but if you don’t communicate properly with the person you’re supposedly in love with, it’s going to severely dampen you sex life (along with your relationship.)

Comfort is a double-edged sword.  When you grow emotionally comfortable with somebody, the personas you put out to the outside world (including those you may have hooked up with) strip away and you feel good about showing / giving yourself to somebody completely.  Exposed, vulnerable, honest, raw.  They get what the hookups don’t, they get all of you.  Getting naked and getting off with somebody is easy, letting them have you with all your mental and emotional defenses down and trusting them to do right by you is much, much harder.  Making love is (and should be) a physical metaphor for your entire relationship: physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual.  Over time though, that comfort can easily fall into taking each other for granted.  Even the act of making love can begin to feel mundane over a long amount of time and lose the very thing that differentiates it from simply hooking up.  It’s a fine line, balanced properly by effort, communication and dedication to satisfying each other’s needs. The physical aspect of a long-term relationship must be maintained as much as any other aspect, or it can just as easily end said relationship as anything else.  You’ve pledged yourselves to each other for the long haul, that means taking care of all the needs you can for them.

Pictured: Magic (I had no idea I was being painted...)

Pictured: Magic (I had no idea I was being painted…)

Don’t get me wrong about magic either, when you’re in love with somebody the magic is (ideally) in everything, especially at first.  But the magic is the love itself.  In the beginning.. the “honeymoon phase” the newness and excitement makes this magic almost automatic, but once that fades it takes some level of work to recognize, appreciate and make magic.  You have to make  love.  Perhaps that’s where the term comes from as many of the more romantic (and in my opinion misguided) belief systems consider sex to be the ultimate expression of love.  While that’s utter bullshit, it makes a decent point in reinforcing that the physical certainly is important as a balanced form of expressing your love physically.  In my experience, the special someone will always have that pull, the intangible, explainable thing that draws you to them, but it’s up to you both to recognize and elaborate on that.  Part of loving somebody is being dedicated to exploring and nurturing the magic that you have with them, and that very includes the bedroom.  If it doesn’t… well then you fall in the very large percentage of people who do what they feel they have to on the side.  It doesn’t meant the love is gone, but it means something has fallen to the wayside on a physical level at least (if not other levels as well.)

NOT Love.  But REALLY, REALLY fun.

NOT Love. But REALLY, REALLY fun.

So, what about non-traditional situations?  Threesomes, Orgies or just open relationships?  I’m not going to go into Polyamory or other alternative relationship situations because this isn’t about the relationships, this is about the love-making within the relationship.  Can people really be in love with multiple people equally?  Yeah, probably.  But let’s talk about that some other time.    In the meantime let’s start with three or more people since I’ve got some experience with this.  First of all, this is by no means wrong or bad for the relationship as long as both people are totally open and honest with each other.  This keeps misunderstandings from happening and allows ground rules to be set if necessary.  Done properly, adding an addition person the mix for a couple to share can be very exciting and fulfilling.  The key is that both partners are equally interested in the situation and they regard the third person as a toy for them both play with.  The third person should also be very clear about their role, and honestly would rarely complain.  In my experience, the threesome+ itself is exciting, sexy and even satisfying, but not making-love.  It’s more like the couple as a singular entity are “hooking-up” with another person.  It’s recreation, fun, sexy recreation for all parties involved.  The nifty side-effect I’ve noticed is that such situations usually result in a second, more connected “love-making” session a bit later on.  Call it reconnection,  reclaiming, whatever.  It’s probably just because the threesome highlighted the contrast between hooking up and making love enough for the couple to crave the added intimacy.

As for open relationships, the best way to explain this is simply that when those in love are with each other, they have that greater connection and intimacy that is making love.  When they venture out and see other people, they are just plain fucking.  It’s like masturbating, but better because it’s always better when somebody else does it.  Obviously this sort of situation requires that the couple not be possessive of each other physically and have spectacularly good, straightforward communication (both of which are much harder in practice than in theory.)  This maintains the necessary trust along with the obvious need for open communication among all parties regarding healthy sexual practices.  I absolutely must point out that love is not possessiveness.  I’m not saying that it’s wrong to want your partner all to yourself, but if somebody isn’t physically possessive, it doesn’t mean they don’t love somebody, it just means they have drawn a clear line in their mind between making love and hooking up.  I’ve heard people say in the past that they like it when their spouse/partner gets jealous because it means they love them.  Fuck that.  Jealousy isn’t love in any way, shape or form.  It’s about possession and nobody owns anyone.  A good relationship is when two people want to give themselves to each other and share their lives equally.  Ownership has nothing to do with it. Ever.  So with that said, while jealousy is natural, it can also be controlled and mastered, and if that’s the case, then a loving and open relationship is certainly possible.

They OBVIOUSLY get it.

They OBVIOUSLY get it.

So what is “Hooking Up”?  Two (or more) consenting adults happily get naked and do sexy things to each other until they end up in a happy heap of post-orgasmic bliss.  What is “Making Love”? Two (or possibly more) people come together without barriers, personas or presumptions and give themselves to each other mind, body and spirit.  They truly connect on multiple levels and and express their total desire to share their lives with each other.  Hooking up is great when done responsibly, but making love is a rare treasure on a whole different level.

Sexual Dynamics, Part 1: Hooking Up

**Seems I never learn.  I was done with this post and had about 1000 words wiped out by accidentally hitting the back button on my browser.  I get that I should get used to writing these in a word processor, but dammit WordPress, your auto-save sucks. So you guys get version 2.0 of my thoughts on this. /end rant. **

Well holy crap.  Last post was by far the most popular post I’ve written since I began broadcasting my brains onto the internet. Thank you for reading and sharing and especially for your candid responses.  I got a ton of feedback from people who could relate or felt that I might have missed something.  They were right, it was missing a lot actually.  I couldn’t possibly fit the intricacies of good sex into a single blog post (at least, not without it being the size of a novel.)  The last post was an introductory guideline… one possible choice in the foundation for good sex.   Judging from the reaction I got, I’ll be writing more of that.  In the meantime though I want to take the chance to address some of the feedback I received.  It’s pretty awesome when blog posts write themselves. 🙂  Some of this will re-hash older posts, but some of you weren’t around back then anyway.  First let’s talk about what I touched on a bit too briefly:

casual-sex-formalFirst let’s clarify that “Hooking Up” and “Making Love” are two very different concepts in my mind, with more or less different agendas but preferably the same physical outcome.  This post, I’m going to start with what I know know more about.  I’ve been single for just over eight years now, but my sex life has (for the most part) been quite healthy.  This means casual sex (AKA No Strings Attached) has been a pretty constant part of my routine.  There have been a few grey areas in the emotional spectrum, but for the most part it’s been very straightforward situations.  I’m not really one for one night stands, in fact on the rare occasion I have sex with a stranger, I make an effort (often to their surprise) to get to know them.  If it’s good, why wouldn’t you want more!?  Especially due to the safety of the situation though, I tend to prefer some level of knowledge before the hook up.  In many ways getting to know somebody on a physical level makes me feel closer to them simply as a person (which explains why most of my best friends are women.)

Hooking up is (ideally) simple.  No emotions and no expectations, just a mutual physical attraction and an agreement to take care of some needs.  There’s no obligation to hang out more (though I often do) and no need to text daily with updates on your life.  It’s just a matter of getting together to take care of some needs and then getting back to your lives.  This goes back to what I wrote last post though:  You’re there for one reason, you best try to be good at it.  As I said, in this situation, there are not supposed to be expectations except the obvious one: generally speaking you’re both there to get off.  I’ll wager that 9 times out of 10 any guy that is trying to “hook up” is specifically looking to cum.

Meanwhile, probably half of the ladies out there say they are content for the excitement/attention but don’t expect to get off.  Well, that’s pretty ridiculous.  It unfortunately stems from all too many lazy, selfish, often falsely entitled assholes who aren’t willing to put any effort towards the hookup past what gets them off.  Sure, they might go down for some ten seconds during “foreplay”, but they think it’s just for warm-up.  Losers. If that makes you feel a bit insecure, this might offend you, but you’ve made an unspoken agreement to participate in this, and unless it’s expressly one-sided, your pride should tell you that you need to at least give it a good shot (no pun intended… kinda.)  Also.. I say again guys: If you are going to ask a girl for a blowjob, the best way to increase your odds of getting one is to get your ass down on her and make her cum first.  What guy doesn’t like blowjobs!?  Totally worth the effort.

Well.. that escalated quickly..

Well.. that escalated quickly..

Now, I realize there’s specific situations where things will be one-sided.  Public sex often needs to be quick and doesn’t allow for the steps that one or both partners require to get off (though it’s often such a turn-on that it’s not impossible.)  Road head obviously requires the driver to focus on driving as much as possible.  Drunken parties sometimes escalate into (semi)public acts that might need to delay reciprocation and then sometimes people that are sexually involved just want to do a quick favor for the other when there’s not time for a full session.  All of that is awesome, but might I suggest considering these and I.O.U. for some undisclosed future date?  Hell, keep am orgasm tally if you like.  Spontaneous sexual reciprocation is pretty awesome.  (Remember too, that I suggest a 2-to-1 ratio of female to male orgasms if possible since many women can have more than one in a session.)

In the case of a one-night stand, you do your best (guys, see last post if you need help) under the circumstances (again.. pride?) It’s basically implied you’re both being pretty selfish and expectations can’t be too high, but you know what?  I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to try be that guy/girl that they talk to their friends about later (and people do talk.)  Personally, I’d like to be the exception that the girl says “Damn.. that guy last night was the best sex/hookup I’ve had in…” or at least “Oh yeah, that guy was totally worth it!”  (Again, I’m not really huge on one-night stands, but if you’re gonna do it, you might as well be memorable right!?)  You guys know you’ll probably get off during sex regardless, so why not try to be most badass hookup they can remember?  Be that guy.  Even if you decide you’re not that into her, if you’re still trying to selfishly get off with her, do it to keep it fair, do it because she deserves it for sharing herself with you.

Hard to argue.

Hard to argue.

Now, in a “Friends with Benefits” situation, you’ve got the communication aspect I stressed so much in the last post. (See also my post on casual sex a few weeks back… I’ll link it at the bottom.)  Maybe the first time it’s unexpected, but after that you’ve got time to talk about it.  If you’re getting naked with this person, and you’re going to continue to get naked with this person, you really shouldn’t have a problem discussing / figuring out what you both both like.  You’ll be able to tell pretty early on if the physical / sexual chemistry is there (and that can make a huge difference.) So honestly, at this point you need to man/woman up and talk.  You should be talking about physical / sexual health anyway, so really talking about your preferences beyond that should be easy.

The great news about this is that if you pull off an ideal “Friends with Benefits” situation, it’s second only to passionate love-making.  Once you’re comfortable with communication, you can use each session to fine-tune, explore and give feedback on what you want and like.  It adds a pretty fun, sexy twist on regular friend activities and lunch/work conversations.  The process might be slow if you only see each other a couple times a month, or it might develop quickly if you have a “regular” you see several times a week.  Either way, each time you get to explore somebody’s body (assuming you’re paying attention) you get to know and practice what works for it until both you and your partner are fine-tuned machines of ecstasy and release.  Added bonus is without the pressure or commitment of a romantic relationship, if something is missing from your otherwise-ideal hook up situation, you are free to find that elsewhere without remorse.  You sacrifice a level of reliability but the trade-off is added potential variety (and by the way, in my experience threesomes, foursomes, etc. have the highest probability of happening in this situation, especially if your partner is bisexual.)

Just stick to the "contract".

Just stick to the “contract”.

As I’ve elaborated before though, successfully navigating a no strings attached situation with a friend is difficult.  You have to be an adult.  That means getting over jealousy, possessiveness and keeping your emotions in check.  Once again communication and honesty with yourself and your partner play huge roles here, and if something is turning into something else, it needs to be addressed ASAP or you risk destroying a friendship at the very least.  Get over the idea that a “Friends with Benefits” situation is going to turn into a loving relationship like the movies.   I’m not saying it can’t, but what’s more likely is that one of two will become attached and start expecting things that they shouldn’t (and for the record, that is not usually the woman, despite the stereotype.)  When that happens a decision has to be made.  Either the playtime has to stop, or you have to agree to stick to the “contract” (Like Christian Grey would if he weren’t in a sappy Twilight fan-fiction…)

Hooking up is not on par with “Making Love”.  There’s a lot to be said for the emotional connection and mental engagement that greatly enhances the act of sex itself.  Love is powerful, in many ways and definitely in bed.  However, if you find somebody you get along with and click with on a physical / sexual level, you take the time to study / learn them in bed (how can this not be fun!?) and you keep your head straight and attitude good about the situation, you’ll find that while it’s not love, it can be the next best thing: Mind-blowing, euphoria-inducing, stress-killing, ultra-orgasmic sex.

For more tips on casual sex done right, check out this post:

http://thegreyarea.org/2014/11/17/how-to-casual-sex/

Dear Boys: Stop failing at sex.

**Warning:  This post contains somewhat dirty words and pictures/descriptions.  If you think sex is icky, don’t read this.**

Seriously.  Though i use the term “boy” for a reason, I’m talking to men of all ages, because apparently some of you still think you’re seventeen and don’t know how to do this.  But before we get started, let me clarify something right away:  I’m really not amazing at the actual act of sex.  I’m decently endowed but by no means huge and I’m not all that into marathon sex (because there’s only so many positions to go through before you’d like to get on with your life…)  What I do right is what any guy can do right regardless of all that:  Be about your partner.

(*note that while I’m speaking generally, I’m only (mostly…) qualified to talk about heterosexual sex.  Though much of this is universal I would imagine some mechanics/dynamics are different in a guy-guy or girl-girl pairing, so take that with a grain of salt.)

One thing most of us can agree on, is that emotional sex (or what I refer to as love-making as opposed to casual or recreational sex) adds a powerful and generally better element to the situation.  Though even then, especially after some time as passed, you guys can screw that up.  Let’s also be clear that I know “it’s not always the guy!” but holy crap the number of comparisons and horror stories I hear from ladies is ridiculous!  So let’s get started, I’ll make this super easy and hopefully when you quietly read it you’ll pick up a concept or two.  If not, I won’t be too heartbroken because frankly, guys that don’t make me look good, and are probably responsible for fair percentage of the reason some girls come back to see me.  So without further ado:

Unfortunately you don't normally get signs like this...

Unfortunately you don’t normally get signs like this…

1. Communicate – For the love of god guys put your false ego away, it’s making your manhood look small.  If a woman trusts you enough to let you touch her naked, then she deserves (as much as you do) for you to care and ask her how she wants to be touched.  Newsflash:  EVERY woman is different and likes different things.  So your style isn’t going to cut it every time.  Deal with it and be adaptable.  Ideally this conversation happens before you actually get down to it, so you have some idea what she wants and how she wants it.  Not only does this help build confidence for both parties, but this kind of talk is pretty hot for both parties involved and can definitely help move things along if you haven’t already gotten to it.  Do note however, that talking about it, even if she seems receptive, does NOT mean it’s going to happen.  Do not ever make that assumption.  Also, I realize sometimes things happen unplanned, in fact sometimes it’s ultra hot and spontaneous and that’s great but that certainly gives you something to talk about after the fact.  In rare cases, she may not want to talk about it, if so then she’ll have no trouble telling you (one way or another) to get to it and you can move on to my next tip:

2. Pay Attention! – If not vocally so, your partner will react to things she likes.  Things like muscles tensing, sharp/quick breaths, gripping / holding you in place and (obviously) moans are all great signs you’re doing something right.  On the other hand, different girls like different things.  I’ve met women that have extremely sensitive nipples to the point they can orgasm from having them licked/played with, but on the other hand I’ve known women that find too much nipple play annoying / uncomfortable.  Obviously if you try something and they squirm out of the way or push/pull you in another direction, that’s a clear sign.  Otherwise, if you don’t know the person well, it might be hard to tell the first time.  But as you get to know them, study their reactions, pay attention!  Honestly, this is your job.  This woman decided to share herself with you intimately, the least you can do is try your best to be sure she enjoys it.  That said you have an obvious goal:

Don't be THAT guy...

Don’t be THAT guy…

3. Make her cum – This IS why you’re doing this, right?  Sure, maybe you love her and you want to share intimate moments with her, but the climax of the experience is for you each to reach that great orgasm that leaves you breathless and satisfied.   Well, let’s face it, for the most part, we’re pretty easy.  Guys can usually get off through straight intercourse in most cases (and in some cases, a bit quicker than she would like.)  On the other hand, girls are usually one of three types I refer to as “Inny”, “Outie” and “Both”.  The most common of the three are “Outies”.  These ladies typically get off by having their clitoris (or “clit” for short) stimulated.  The second, less common type is the “Inny” which typically has orgasms through internal or “G Spot” stimulation.  These are the lucky ladies that can more often orgasm through intercourse along with the really lucky ladies who get through “both” or either manner.  Note though, that regardless of type, they won’t necessarily be easy.  Sometimes it’s a bit of (sweet, sweet) work to give a woman an orgasm.  In addition, women are typically more influenced by their mental state than men, meaning the more comfortable and turned on they are, the easier it will be for you to make it happen for them.  You attitude should be enthusiastic, and you should take great pride in your ability to work and make this happen for them.  Since intercourse is not by any means the best way to give a woman an orgasm, start with this:

3. Go Down On Her – If I had one piece of advice overall, it would be this.  Especially if you’re even considering asking her to to reciprocate, you better be ready to do your part.  But the thing about this is, it requires one or both of the previously mentioned steps to be effective.  It is rare (not impossible) for a woman to not enjoy receiving oral sex, but it is not uncommon for different women to like different things, styles, etc.  Generally speaking though (assuming she hasn’t told you what she likes,) start slow, tease her inner-thighs and then gently work your way up to her clit with your tongue.  (If you don’t know where it is… please google it.. for the love of god… there’s some variety, but you can figure it out.  If you can’t, nobody can help you.)  Once you have a clear indicator that you’re hitting the right spot (even if she’s silent, you should be able to tell by tensing muscles and quickened breathing as mentioned above,) you can pick up the pace with your tongue.  (If there’s no reaction at this point, check her pulse, you may have bored her to death.)  Once you have your tongue moving the way she likes it, you can take it up a notch when you:

Here's a diagram.  You have no excuse.

Here’s a diagram. You have no excuse.

4. Use Your Fingers!  – You know what the difference between passible (maybe) oral sex, and good oral sex is?  Multi-tasking (and really that goes for both genders!)  This means while you’re working that tongue on her, you can put those two hands/fingers to work.  Start by slowly sliding one of your fingers into her vagina.  Do not just ram it into her, work it in slowly, using some that saliva and her fluids to allow it to slide in smoothly.  Once you have one finger sliding in and out, work it around a little bit and gently try to slide in a second finger. (The number of fingers a girl prefers can vary, but two is generally a good universal number to start with.)  Once you have both fingers sliding in comfortably, you can go for the internal button (aka “G Spot”.)  Keep in mind again that on some women internal stimulation doesn’t do too much, and the “G Spot” itself has no real effect for them, but you probably won’t hurt anything but going for it, and if it does do something for them, you’ll probably be able to tell.  The exact position is individual, but you’ll generally have a good chance of finding it by inserting your fingers all the way in at an upward angle, and then running them along the top of her vagina (assuming she’s on her back) in a “come here” or hooking motion with your fingers.  As with before, start this motion slowly until you hit what you think is a good spot.  One of the benefits of having your fingers inside of her is that when you’re hitting good spots you can often feel her muscles tensing around your fingers (yay feedback!)  Once you’ve practiced that to the point you’re comfortable, move on to:

5. Multi-Task! – I know, you’re already multi-tasking.  But you have another hand and you might as well use it.  There’s a number of things you can do here.  The safest options are to reach up and fondle one of her nipples if possible.  You can also reach around and (gently) pull up a bit on the area above her clit, this often makes sure you you have better access with your tongue (always a good thing.)  Likewise, on some women, if you apply gentle pressure on their lower abdomen about two inches  above where you are licking, there is a nerve cluster that can enhance the sensation noticeably for them.  One other major option is to use your other finger for anal penetration.  Many women actually enjoy this (probably more than are willing to admit.) However, this is a bad idea unless you are well established with your partner for two reasons: First, if they don’t enjoy those sorts of things and you do it, it can literally and instantly kill whatever progress you’ve made toward their orgasm and possibly take them out of the mood.  Not worth it.  Second, even if they do like it, a great deal more trust, care (and lubrication!!) is needed to comfortably pull off that move.  Again, not until you know it’s something they want and how they like it.  Regardless of the accepted multi-tasking ends up being, there’s a pretty important rule:

You get the idea.  But over and over...

You get the idea. But over and over…

6. DO. NOT. STOP. – (Until you’re told to.)  There are multiple reasons for this, but the primary two are as follows:  First, consistent rhythm is key to allow her to build to orgasm.  Women tend to gradually build higher and higher (I know one woman who describes it as a roller-coaster ascending slowly before the fun part) and if you stop at any point during this ascent or the orgasm, you run the risk of not only lessening the build-up, but possibly resetting it.  Meanwhile stopping during the orgasm will very often reduce it’s intensity and length, which is just depressing.  The second major reason you don’t stop is that some of our lady-friends are endowed with the incredible ability to orgasm over and over.  Some have one gigantic one like many of us guys do, some have two or three before they are done and some can have well into double digits before it gets to be too much.  Regardless of which it is, they will have no problem scrambling away, pushing your head back, or otherwise signaling that they have had enough.  That’s not a bad feeling, when she tells you she needs a break because it’s too much.  Typically, I think a fair ratio is that she should have (at least) two orgasms for every one she gives you.  Obviously, you should give her hers first because in most cases, when a guy is done, he’s pretty useless in bed (at least for a while.)  So get good at all the above and you’ll find it’s pretty simple to:

7. Have GOOD sex! – First of all, if you’ve done all of the above, she’s already satisfied, so the pressure is off.  If she’s the type who has multiple orgasms, she’s probably much more primed to receive you now and enjoy it a lot more than if you’d gone straight to the sex.  Even if she’s not the type to have multiples or to cum during sex, she’s probably going to be pretty happy to do what it takes to give you yours and enjoy herself along the way.  And if you happen to be quick that day, she probably won’t mind, because you did your job.  There’s always the chance she’ll offer to orally return the favor and you’ll get a blowjob in addition to or along with some great sex.  In most cases, there’s no downside to making sure she’s taken care of first. However:

See?  This is important!

See? This is important!

8. Communicate! – After your random hookup or the first time that was quick and passionate and in the moment without communication, there’s no excuse.  Talk to her, find out what she likes and how she likes it.  The above is a guideline but there are so many variables.  Some really enjoy the initial penetration of sex right away (and THEN oral!)  Some aren’t comfortable with oral at all and would rather you use fingers, and some want you to put yourself somewhere else entirely!  The point is if you’ve been intimate with her, there’s zero reason to be shy about figuring out exactly what she wants.  Once she knows she can tell you without you feeling threatened or judging her (if you do, you need to move on) she will happily tell you and feel more comfortable / excited that she can.  DO NOT ever get irritated or upset about instruction, especially during, because all it will do is make you more of a rockstar for her and make her happier that she can trust you with her desires.

As long as this post is, it’s only a small fraction of what you can do.  There’s so many variables, tricks and elaborations using any number of positions (using your body or fingers to rub her clit during sex) and factors (toys!)  But start with this, and I can comfortably say the majority of women you are involved with with enjoy themselves.  As I said in the beginning, the key is to go into this being about your partner and doing your best for them.  With that attitude, everyone cums out happy.

The Center

Every so often I reach a fantastic state of just being.  Where literally nothing matters and I become detached from everything and connected to everything at the same time.  (And no, no substances are involved.)  I’m certain anyone who reads this will instantly label it as something specific.

The best way I can describe it, is nothing.  It is not light, or dark.  It is not the emptiness that tugs on your soul, nor is it the light warmth that radiates from your chest.  It is truth.  It simply is.  Because above all else, everything that exists on this planet is simply doing just that: existing.  Sometimes for just a little while, that’s enough.  Ego strips away, and even life and death are just another part of existence.

The realization comes that the only things that matter are what we allow to matter.  You can actually choose to not care.  But I don’t mean careless, and I don’t mean carefree (I think it’s funny how those concepts have near-opposite connotations when they mean virtually the same thing.)  What I mean is that you can choose to think without feeling.  Act without emotion.  Accomplish without stress or pressure.

Bruce-lee-be-like-waterA lot of meditation teaches that peace is nothingness.  At the same time it is everything, or rather, being connected to everything without regard to ego.  It’s true that when you can discard the idea of self, all the things that were negative in your life go with it, and stay gone until regain yourself.  As the Grandmaster I once served would say; “it is a mini-vacation.”

It is a powerful thing to be able to operate in this detached state.  I find that patience is simple.  Emotions may leak through; a moment of frustration or a smile at something amusing, but they cannot stick.  You are either high, nor low.  You are the center, and you do not move form there for very long unless you choose to.

However, though it may be ideal and enlightened to stay in this state, I never do for long.  I think that remaining indefinitely neutral defeats the purpose of this life… this stage of our existence.  Instead I slip in and out of it, so that I might experience worldly pleasures and seek the highs that life’s experiences can give me.  By doing this, I naturally risk sadness, loneliness and loss and it’s not always easy to discard those right away.  But it’s a good practice to return to the center often enough to think clearly.  It lends perspective and allows you to look at your life objectively so that you can decide what you want to keep and what you should avoid / discard.

More importantly it lets you rest.  Being caught in the torrent of emotions all-day, every day can easily wear you down, and while sleep is a great remedy, for many it does not come easily.  So especially if you cannot sleep, try to teach yourself to let go for just a little while.  Learn to stop all the superficial worries, feelings and ego in order to disengage society and simply exist.  If you start with a little you might find it becomes easier and easier to control over time.

Philosophy of Moderation – Part 3: Sleep

So this year I made “goals” instead of “resolutions” because for some reason it’s gotten to the point that resolutions are synonymous with failure.  (I’m watching the population of my gym closely, it has already declined some since the year turned.)  Among my goals for this year was to make sleep a priority.  Not just any sleep, decent sleep, like several sleep cycles (which adds up to 7.5 hours with another 15 min added to wind down and actually fall asleep.)  Previously I had shot for six a night and often missed the mark, which really added up by the end of the week in terms of my energy level, mood and ability to stay awake in what are sometimes relatively boring meetings (which is an unfortunate necessity.)

Now I know some of you hard-core folk are out there doing what you do, pounding Monster energy drinks and sleeping three hours a night with the mantra of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!!”

Well, if you’re doing that solely on principle, then fuck off.  You’re wrong.

I guess you won't sleep when you're... undead?

I guess you won’t sleep when you’re… undead?

I’m not going to go into the endless amount of science that says a good amount of sleep benefits you in nearly every way possible.  Nine out of ten doctors don’t do it for me either.  Doctors of what? For all we know they all have their PhD’s in English Composition (god knows we all know I don’t.. but I digress…)  What I WILL tell you is that I’ve been there, done that.  I’ve never taken hard drugs, but I’ve skimmed the surface by taking enough ephedrine and caffeine to keep me awake for three days straight until my body was literally trying to shut itself down while I was standing up at work.  I continue to use obscene amounts of coffee to make up for the hours lost hooking up on a work night, or simply playing an MMO until my eyes threatened to bleed and the sun was rising.  But just because we’re badass and can do that, doesn’t mean we should do that.  It comes down to quality of life and when it comes to living, if you believe quantity is more important than quality, I think you’re doing it wrong.

Now let’s back up a little and clarify something.  I know life happens.  I know sometimes you have to do what you have to do by working several jobs, overnight, military or caring for a newborn that doesn’t give a rat’s ass that you have to go to work tomorrow.  All those are situational life happenings that are important and can’t be helped.  I would never condemn somebody that is sacrificing for the sake of promoting themselves or those close them.  That’s life, shit happens, we do our best.  I get that.  I’m talking about those (like me) who intentionally and through lack of discipline put themselves in a position to lose what is essentially as important to your health and longevity as breathing, eating or drinking water.  Just like those things, if you don’t sleep for a certain amount of time, you’ll actually die.  

Handy infographic.

Handy infographic.

When you get less sleep over time, you are damaging yourself.   Most importantly, you are actually damaging your brain. It literally kills brain cells.  The good news is your brain can heal itself to some degree, the bad news is with prolonged regular damage, there’s gonna be some lasting effects.  That’s assuming you don’t kill yourself (like I almost did) by falling asleep on the road or doing something else equally stupid.  And the icing on the cake (all of this was recently confirmed): premature aging (especially skin), stupidity (literally), decreased sex drive and (that’s right) weight gain.   Add that to the overall dramatically increased chance of death (especially through cardiovascular issues) and all of a sudden those couple extra hours of MMO don’t seem so life-changing.  I love food, video games, women, sex, alcohol and what have you, and there’s nothing with losing a couple hours form time to time to partake in all these awesome things life has to offer.  Life is about experience, so live it!  But for the love of god when it’s just another night in your everyday life, needlessly throwing away your body’s ability to fix itself from all the awesome damaging experiences is just plain stupid.  Don’t be stupid, too many humans already are.

sleeping_baby_kitten

Every other animal in the world understands. Also.. baby kitten.

So then what did this goal do for me thus far?  Well, the other day I was in a six hour meeting at work to go over systems and processes and otherwise boring shit that’s essential but not boobs and explosions.  You know what?  I had a pretty good time.  Since I was well rested, I was not only not fighting dozing (which honestly sucks because you know you’re missing everything..), but I was witty enough to banter about what we were talking about and make it more fun.  Yep, sleeping made work more fun.  On top of that, my morning coffee works much better, because instead of compensating, it’s just boosting.  When it wore off, I didn’t crash, I was good.  Here’s the kicker though and it’s something I hadn’t thought about: dreams.  See before I would occasionally have a dream or two, but most times I just assumed I forgot them when I woke up.  Now I think that I just wasn’t having them.  My brain just wasn’t making it to whatever process that caused them.  Now granted I’ve been having more “Walking Dead” style dreams than anything else (hurry back!!) But even that isn’t really unpleasant because my brain has dug up all kinds of random crap I haven’t even thought about in years and it’s pretty entertaining.  I dream literally every night.  Other than reoccurring nightmares, I think most people would choose to dream rather than not… ever.   Beyond all that, I’m generally more level-headed and patient despite going through a fairly strange and isolated time in my life, so I would say this particular goal has especially good timing.  Oh, and getting enough sleep regularly also has the benefit of making it much  easier to get through days you don’t happen to get enough sleep because you’re busy being a rock star.

Having a rockstar night every night has killed or damaged many a rock star.  So, like all things, be a rockstar (or MMO badass) in moderation and get some sleep!!

Cycles: The circles within the circles within a circle of life…

They say that history repeats.  Well, it does.  In fact life repeats.  Over and over again.  In the creative industry there’s a joke (it’s not really a joke) that a good design is something you saw somewhere and changed just enough (I think the agree percentage is approximately 20% but don’t quote me on that) to call it your original work.  It’s fitting though because your life is currently doing the exact same thing.

Don’t get me wrong, obviously on the surface things change.  I’m not saying that whatever god you do or do not believe in is a lazy artist.  We grow, places change, faces change, everything changes.  It’s a depressing constant knowing that basically anything you love or grow attached to will inevitably end.  However, while that’s true on the surface, the truth is you’ve been doing a large number of the same things over and over again throughout these changes.  Thus is your cycles and you will repeat these cycles over and over again until you stop doing the same things, until you learn from that cycle and then break it using your newfound knowledge.  Then a new cycle with a new lesson begins and so on and so on.

Nothing circular here... carry on...

Nothing circular here… carry on…

Cycles are not just personal though, they come in all shapes in sizes.  The state of our planet, even our universe and those beyond are in the mists of cycles that most people can’t even begin to wrap their head around.  The evidence is everywhere, nearly every major function of a system from life itself to the state of energy is in essence circular (if you were to chart it.)  So from massive cosmic cycles that take thousands or millions of years to complete all the way down to your own daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or decades long cycles, the world is repeating and everything you do feeds into it on some level.

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to bring about real change in the world?  Well, think about how hard it is to change one little habit about yourself, and then multiply that by over seven billion, and then factor in that you’d have to get a pretty large percentage of those seven billion on board with said change at the same time.  It’s starting to sound like rocket science, but it’s not.  But it is hard (I mean look at congress for god’s sake… and that’s only 535 people!!)  I don’t want to say it’s impossible, but I honestly can’t fathom anything short of global catastrophe (or enlightenment?) affecting a change that large.  And so many of the world’s woes that might easily be solved with our abundance of resources and technology… are not.

What I decided in my infinite selfishness is that the best thing I can do is try not to be part of the problem.  That means being actively self-aware, and trying to manage and break my own cycles in order to keep growing.  I’ve failed miserably at romance for nearly a decade, so obviously I haven’t figured that one out yet (despite having a much more solid sex life than many…) but I’ve made good progress in other areas like career development and not being an ignorant drone (always a plus.)  So in order to break your cycles and learn your lessons (hopefully gracefully) the first step is figuring out how to recognize them.

A bit like this.

A bit like this.

In every cycle you will find key similarities.  The trick is to ignore the surface and look for the situational similarities.  For instance, for each round of a specific cycle of my life, there is always one girl that we’ve all but agreed to hook up at some point, but due to circumstances, it never actually happens.  It’s not casual, it’s blatant, like “Well that should’ve happened right then but didn’t because… random occurrence.”   There is always that specific role that is played.  So as soon as I recognize that person, I can try to figure out what that’s trying to teach me, and carry on differently than I did before (or, if I don’t care to break that aspect of the cycle, not.)  Also, there’s always a “Jessica”, and they always play a key non-primary role in my major cycle.  This is complicated because obviously there’s all kinds of Jessicas running around in the world, but once they find their way into my world I can usually tell who it is specifically that will play that role.  Then based on that I can figure out where I am in that cycle by looking at previous events and comparing them to how things are shaping up now.

I realize that all of this sounds obscure, and a little silly, but I invite you to take a look around and recognize the similarities between what you have done and what you are doing.  Humans are creatures of habit, and it’s not simply a matter of small things like biting your nails or showering at night. When the world throws the same situations at you over and over again, and they don’t really end great, it’s really powerful to be able to realize it and choose to make a change.  That sort of awareness is what allows you to break the cycle and grow.  When you get good at recognizing them, you can choose to keep some intact and break others.  Every time you break a cycle, you create a new one and you can evaluate whether it’s good for you or not and what to do about it.

I believe this is the actual secret to success in this world.  The law of attraction feeds into this as well, since your thoughts (positive and negative) are what affect these cycles.  Those who have an abundance of money, love, power or what have you, have developed the cycles that keep bringing these things to them.  Whether they are aware of it or not, they are maintaining certain cycles while disciplining themselves to break those that go agains them.  However, sometimes not recognizing their cycles has cause these people to lose things as quickly as they gained them.  A bad decision can just as easily break a good cycle as the right one can break a bad cycle.  So think about your life, recognize your cycles and go to work figuring out what you need to do to keep the good ones and break the bad ones.  Temporarily, change can be uncomfortable and even painful, but if you understand why it’s necessary, and the good things to come, it’s a lot easier to accept.

The Case for Being Selfish

“Being good doesn’t mean good things will happen to you…” -Rumplestiltskin (Once Upon A Time)

A long time ago in a land far far away… I was a villain.  Some days I think I still am.  I share a lot of the same traits:  selfishness, narcissism, disregard for a lot of the “rules” and a general distain towards humanity as a whole.  There’s some things that changed as I grew and if I am still a bad guy, I might be a bit more honorable… if only by my own code.  I actively try to be better anyway.

Yay for ironic double-meanings!

Yay for ironic double-meanings!

One thing I can’t seem to make it around though, is my own selfishness.  But I think I know why.  The fact of the matter is, generally speaking the world is selfish.  Humans, by nature are selfish.  People find all kinds of ways to sugar-coat it and feel better about themselves, but at the end of the day almost everyone places higher value on themselves and those more important to themselves.  What this also means, is that those who decide to try not to be selfish will never receive their due.  At the very least they will generally receive less appreciation than they are due, and at most (and probably far too often) they will be completely and utterly taken advantage of.  They are rewarded by being stripped bare and left with nothing because people took with malice, carelessness or simply didn’t think about the affect their actions would have on the giver.  When a tree bears fruit, there are proper times and ways to harvest the fruit so that it can bear fruit again easily.  The same can be said for those willing to give selflessly, but all too often the right way is ignored for the sake of personal gain.

I have, in the past, attempted to be a “better” person, by acting selflessly, giving without expectation and trying not to judge those who seem ignorant to plight of those around them.

Well, fuck that.

Though now I still occasionally, (even often) give, no longer is it without strings. It is no longer selfless.  Those I give to I either owe, or want them to owe me.  I suppose in some cases I do so simply for the feeling of making them happy and, in turn, making myself happy.  But even then it’s a form of “brownie points” with them or -at the very least- my own personal satisfaction.  I contribute to the system, I show respect to those around me on the surface and I don’t go out of my way to mess with anyone else’s world (unless they do so with mine…)  But I don’t feel I owe the world anything, and I don’t have any desire to give to it without expectation of return.  Maybe that makes me a part of the problem, but the truth is the real problem is the system and society that encourages selfishness.
Bill-Gates-about-money
Those at the top are selfish, they look after themselves and their own before others.  Even the modern-day great philanthropists: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Bono, etc. are businessmen and celebrities who amassed fortunes most average people cannot even dream of before spending fractions of those fortunes to try and make the world a better place.  Meanwhile famous “selfless” humanitarians such as Mother Teresa are loaded with contradiction and agenda (often religious) over the actual care of the people. (I’m not going into it, but head over to google and do some research, especially the last 50 years or so of her life are said to have been quite contradictory to her image.)

So what’s the lesson here?  I’m not saying “don’t give” or “don’t be selfless ever”.  Remember that moderation is necessary in all things!  I’m saying be okay with being selfish first.  Look after yourself and don’t be afraid to say no to those who ask for things unless they earn it.  Just because you have, doesn’t mean you have to give.  Many of the people mentioned above had a lot before they really began to give.  Now, you don’t have to be the asshole that I admittedly am sometimes, as I said, it’s often questionable whether or not I’m still a bad guy. But people will try to make you feel guilty about having and not giving, which is ridiculous because they are all too eager to take from you and give much less in return.

Try it sometime, if you’re a natural nice person and giver and you feel you have a lot of great friends around all the time who value you, test it.  For a little while, for whatever reason, just stop giving whatever it is you freely put out there; be it attention, money, things, affection, what have you.  For a short time, keep these things to yourself and see what happens.  I am willing to bet that a large percentage of those friends will give you less as well.  Some will call less, visit less or even disappear.  Do you know why?  Because their relationship with you was never unconditional just as you have to face that yours probably wasn’t with them either.  Even our relationships are selfish, so it’s okay for us to decide what we’re going to give, what not to give and what it’s worth.  Relationships in any form are usually some sort of unwritten contract, and when you change the terms, what you get will also change.

People like him for his selflessness...

People like him for his selflessness…

I tend to lean toward the Liberal side of politics; I think Norway has it right in terms of taxes and public systems and I believe the concepts of socialism and even communism in it’s purest forms are great ideas.  But humans can’t pull it off because they are too inherently selfish and greedy.  Even if some can reason past it for the greater good, it only takes a small percentage to ruin an otherwise perfect system.  That’s why such things only work in limited degrees when properly implemented by government, and only when there’s enough reasonable people to overrule the many that are blindly selfish.

But this isn’t about politics, this is about individuals.  This is about me.  Someday I would love to have the resources to be a humanitarian like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or even (to a lesser degree) George Clooney.  But if I am, I’m going to get mine first and I’m going to give to and look after those who earn it first.  Show me you deserve it, and I will enjoy feeling obligated to give to you.  But make me feel as though I’m being taken for granted, and I will withdraw as quickly as I put myself out there.  Whether it be attention, money, time or even love.. I will give to the right people,I  but I have to look after myself before I can give to anyone else.  That might be selfish, but that’s what this world has shown me and given me, that’s how the game is played.  Until the majority of this world decides the change the rules for the better of us all, I’ll play the hand I’ve been dealt, and win.

About Change and Where We Belong

It has been a busy holiday season and new year, but finally a chance to get back into routine, and that includes my blog!

One of my best friends was visiting from her new home in Japan this last week.  She’s  stayed with me a couple nights while also visiting her other friends and we’ve been catching up on the changes in the sixteen months or so since she left.  I was a little concerned, because sometimes when people travel abroad and start a new life in a difficult, unfamiliar place, it’s easy to come back and latch on to what’s familiar.  So we were on our way to a friend’s house and I asked her if she was feeling at home again (more or less baiting her for my underlying question: “are you not going to want to go back?”  Her immediate answer was: “No.  I don’t belong here.”  Wow.  In that moment I realized how much she’s grown even since she left.

She looks Japanese.. right?

She looks Japanese.. right?

I should clarify that she’s one of my best friends because she’s always been wickedly intelligent, friendly and otherwise awesome as a person.  She took the time to get to know me better than anyone had in a very long time, and to this day reminds me when I’m repeating my cycles.  When she was accepted to the prestigious JET program, she had been scared and excited to leave everything she’d know.  But it was her dream to live in Japan someday and it won out over any fear she had.   When she arrived, the first few months were tough, and on and off she struggled with homesickness and bouts of depression. But now, that moment in the car she spoke with such resolution that I knew she’d gotten past it all.  She made her home in Japan, and she knows, she feels that where she is now is where she belongs.

So the new year is upon us, and though the dates and turning of the year are very often in the minds of those who recognize it, there’s something to be said about powerful tradition and the influence of so many minds on the same wavelength.  Our cycles are reflections of our minds, so it’s silly to think we have no influence over them.  We break and remake them as we learn and grow.  The predominant theme of a new year is (of course) new things, new lives, even a new you.  But while everyone wishes for “new”, many are hesitant to wish for the same thing: “change”.  New does not happen without change.  Even if you’re only adding to your existing life, it will inevitably change it.  People fear the idea of “change” because they are afraid to lose what they have and what they are comfortable with, but it’s all about your attitude.  Embrace change and the excitement and experience that come with it are your rewards.  What you should retain will stay with you in some form anyway, the only things you will truly lose are the things that are probably holding you back now anyway.

In a sense, my friend gave up her whole life here to travel to a new place and begin again.  But now she visited over a year later, and she has actually lost nothing.  She came back to friends, family and even pets and could easily have stepped back into her old life as if she’d never left.  However, many people (including myself) noticed she was different.  She has evolved, and further,  instead of sinking into routine, she felt far away from home among us.  It sounds bad, but in essence it means she has embraced her new self and her new life.  It means she has grown.  Some people embark on journeys or make resolutions to change, but many (probably the majority) end up sinking back to what is comfortable.  This involves locations, relationships and professions.  Comfort is easy, and that’s not always a bad thing, but if we rely on comfort too long and do not push our boundaries, we become stagnant and that gives rise to many major issues from boredom to depression.  In order to be fulfilled, we have to feel as if we are growing and/or working toward something.

It's hard not to feel like you belong in moments like these.

It’s hard not to feel like you belong in moments like these.

That’s why finding where you belong can be so difficult; often it’s not a specific place, it’s a situation… it’s a state of mind.  You belong where you can learn, and grow and be made to feel valued for your contributions.  In a comfortable situation, you are taken for granted as much as you take things for granted, but continuing to develop yourself and your situations prevents this on both sides.  That’s not to say that everyone has to uproot and move thousands of miles to find where they belong, sometimes it’s simply a new living or work situation.  But the point is, as hard as it is to to tell when you are there, If you’re honest with yourself, it’s easy to tell when you’re not there.  You feel it when you don’t belong in a situation.  Listen to that, and have the courage to make the change.  I’ve been guilty of clinging to things I was afraid to lose and delaying change in the past, but it turns out that when you embrace change and grow with it, you don’t lose nearly as much as you think.  Especially those who you are important to will make the effort to follow you on some level and reunite with you when possible.  If others fall to the wayside, they have other priorities and probably would have eventually anyway.

That’s the thing about change, be it a new year, a new place, a new relationship or a new profession:  It’s going to happen whether you like it or not.  So, embrace it, direct it and make the most of it with a great attitude. Grow, Change, Love and find where you belong.