Why I Adore Jesus – My Favorite Radical Mystic

Jesus Christ by k Madison Moore

Jesus Christ by k Madison Moore

I grew up in the Christian tradition, Baptist and Pentacostal versions, and I fell head over heels in love with Jesus. I loved singing happy birthday to Jesus on Christmas and I loved the stories and rituals of his life. I happily went to church 3 or more times a week, in addition to Christian school until 5th grade. Easter was hard for me because I felt his pain so deeply when I reflected on the crucifixion, and because I believed it was my fault, because I was told he would have died for just one of us. I couldn’t believe anyone could love me so much and I tried with all my heart to be a good girl for him. I prayed and talked to him regularly. I made sure I was “saved” by asking him into my heart over and over and getting baptized multiple times. I gave myself over to the powerful energies of Pentacostal practice and experienced altered states known as “being slain in the Spirit.” I spoke in tongues and shook with an emotional and spiritual power I didn’t understand, but enveloped me in the deepest love and connection I’d known. Even as a child and teen I was a mystic, driven by my longing for connection with the Divine.

Now I understand that I loved the archetype and mythology of Jesus intensely because he mirrors my own nature. Jesus loves God and commits his life to awakening others to their own Divinity. Jesus is so generous that he suffers great violence and gives his life for us. Jesus also prioritizes service and inclusion over money and social standing. He raises consciousness. And he embraces those on the margins of society. As a little girl and young woman, desperate to be saved from the traumas in my home, desperate for a sense of emotional safety and unconditional love, Jesus was a bright shining light in the darkness.

I know down to my bones that Jesus would have loved the communities I love – the tribes with piercings and tattoos who commune with the Divine through body rites; the single mothers on welfare or working minimum wage jobs, doing everything they can to raise their children to be healthy, happy and whole; orphans who have been ravaged by life and grief; the poor, the disabled and the addicted; lovers who express their longing for Divine union through their “alternative” sexualities; and so many more. Jesus was a Radical Mystic and Sacred Activist, rebelling against the status quo and striving for social justice in his world.

This is the trouble that I have with how spirituality has become just another commodity in our culture. With our plethora of spiritual and self-development teachers, I don’t see very many people like Jesus today. The people who teach, even the ones I respect, only teach to those who have significant privilege. Most of them are not serving, they are selling to people who are mostly white, mostly straight, and are all wealthy by global standards. Jesus would not ignore or neglect those who suffer from poverty, illness, violence, and addiction. Jesus would not abide the oppression of queer and trans people. Jesus would not sit on the mountain meditating while thousands die in the atrocities of war. Jesus would not focus on building his brand while millions or billions of his human family go without the basics of food, shelter and safety. Jesus wouldn’t be interested in teaching people how to make six figures with their gifts. Jesus would be inspiring them to take their gifts to the streets, to the margins, where they are needed most.

While I grew beyond the church and the dogma of Christianity by the time I was 20, I find that I still carry a deep abiding love and respect for Jesus Christ. Although I honor and find something to resonate with in all belief systems, Jesus remains my favorite spiritual teacher. He is my role model. The work that I have found – with an organization that serves the people in my community who live on the margins with relationship and spiritual community in addition to physical resources – helps me see that this is where I belong. I didn’t succeed with an executive coaching firm that charges several hundred dollars an hour for their services because those are not the people I am called to serve. I will not become a creative entrepreneur because I’m not interested in selling anything. Money never has been and never will be a motivating force in my life.

Like Jesus, I am driven by love and a desire to alleviate suffering by providing sustenance and belonging for all that are not getting their most basic physical and emotional needs met. I can no longer try to emulate the bright and shiny stars who spin where the spiritual and entreprenurial worlds meet, because I am not driven by the same fire. My new role models are those spiritual leaders who take their love to the streets to alleviate the suffering of others. Sacred activists. Radical mystics. Those who are willing to put everything on the line, even their lives, for a more just and loving world.

On Finding Belonging

If today is an indication of what I will experience regularly in my work life, then I feel as though I’ve found my heaven for the time being. I’ve certainly found my belonging.

My spirituality now permeates every aspect of my life and my spirit is thriving because of it. I started my day by reading Occupy Spirituality on the bus (the half hour of quiet time is great for study, prayer, contemplation, and other practices) and then led the staff reflection with a blessing from John O’Donohue shortly after my arrival at the office. Most of the staff showed up for my first time facilitating, which felt really special.

Then I passed out valentines I made for my team and the residence staff, with chocolate kisses. Later I was invited by the Activities Director to share a Valentine’s lunch with the residents at the assisted living facility. I passed out more valentines, which some of them really loved, helped serve up pizza, and sat down to eat and talk with some of the community members. I am ashamed to say that it was my first time openly engaging with a group of people who are disabled in some way (all of our residents have double or triple morbidity in physical disability, mental disability, and/or addiction). I’ve been stating the intention that I am committed to embodying radical inclusion in my life and the Universe has given me a work opportunity to live into that intention. I am also recognizing through reading Occupy Spirituality that it was Jesus who was my first role model in generosity, service, and reaching out to those our culture ignores and/or shuns. (I hope to write a blog post soon about how I am circling back to my original Christian faith in some ways – the faith of Jesus, not “the church.”)

After lunch I had a conversation with the Outreach Coordinator regarding the potential of using the framework of sacred activism to draw people to our volunteer program, and possibly reach out to faith communities that have a social justice practice. Toward the end of the day I took a few leftover valentine cards with messages like “We Cherish You” to lovebomb downtown on my walk to the bank to make a deposit (I make deposits twice a week because this place knows how to bring in the donations!).

My day ended with both my Executive Director and Pastoral Director telling me…again…how much they, and the entire team, appreciate me.

I am tired and I still hurt from a Fibro flare up induced by working both jobs last week. But it’s a good tired and a good hurt. I earned it doing things that make me really happy. I am not suffering. My heart is full of love and joy. My life is so good that I feel sated. I want for nothing. It’s an amazing feeling.

Joyful Connection in Sex Positive Events

Tags

, , ,

I just found this draft of a post I originally wrote on April 1st, 2012 for my previous blog, when I was one of the hostesses for The Impropriety Society. Apparently I never published it and I should have because it speaks to a significant piece of why I was so motivated to co-create sex positive parties, both public and private, for five years. And it tells the stories of two super special scenes I was privileged to be a part of. It makes my heart happy to remember these moments and trust that I will have them again.

*

Awhile ago I hosted a going away party for a friend, that included turning her into a chocolate sundae. I was one of several women, as well as a couple men, who played with and tasted ice cream, home made whipped cream, candy, chocolate syrup, and other goodness on a beautiful woman’s naked body lying across my dining room table. We painted her in designs. We splashed each other as we played. And the laughter was out of control.

At the Imps holiday social, I was the spontaneous bridge between two fiery scenes on either side of our double cross. On one side was my partner, Eros, doing an impact scene with a friend of ours – a scene that I had initiated because I really like playing together as a couple and was interested in being a sensual top to a woman I adore in opposition to his meanie top. As we were getting ready to begin, another scene was coming together on the other side of the cross. Since I intended to stand in the space in the middle of the cross, I wanted to get consent to be so close to the other scene – which was three gorgeous women topping another gorgeous woman (someone who has flirted with me) for her first BDSM scene of any kind. Amazingly we ended up negotiating that any of the women were free to touch one another. I spent most of the scenes standing between these two women lost in pleasure, kissing them, touching them, and soaking up the energy flowing between 7 people having a joyful and incredibly hot experience. There aren’t even words for how magical it was.

By opening my home and my heart to holding space for people express themselves authentically, I am honored to be witness to and participate in a plethora of intimate, connected, deeply pleasurable experiences.

We shouldn’t need permission to be joyful, playful, deeply intimate, and really connect with one another in profound ways through our vulnerability in shared experiences. This is why I facilitate(d) events and gatherings – both with the Imps and in my own home. I seek to create spaces where people can be free – free to be their emotional selves, their creative selves, and their sensual/sexual selves with each other. There isn’t a lot of space in our world for people to be fully integrated humans in relationship to one another. I strive to create spaces that allow the most profound freedom possible.

*

I don’t know that I will continue with sex positive specific events in Portland, but I do know that I will continue creating spaces for people to be the fullness of themselves. Spaces where spontaneous, magical connections can happen between community members, as well as deep intimacy.  Re-reading this post reminds me how much bliss I experience in these spaces, both as a creator and a participant.

The Thing About Faith

Tags

,

The thing about faith is that it doesn’t work on our schedule. We can have what we truly desire in life, but the journey is rarely quick or easy. Trusting the Universe means trusting for as long as it takes for people and situations to align. We are co-creating after all.

I have a natural propensity for trust, in everything and everyone. Even when I’m simultaneously raging at the Universe for circumstances I am afraid I cannot bear. Ultimately I have faith in myself, because I have been able to find a way to thrive everywhere I have been tossed by this crazy life. It really doesn’t matter if there is a God or deeper meaning to this existence. It is my faith that keeps saving me and leads me deeper into the life of my dreams. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for everything I have lived that led me to here and now.

If You Knew {poetry}

Tags

,

by Ellen Bass

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
They’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

It’s Our Vulnerability – Not Our Body -That Defines Our Sexy

I recently joined a women’s sexuality discussion group and it’s heartbreaking to hear how much sexiness is equated exclusively with how we look. Fat, cellulite, pimples, hair, wrinkles, stretch marks, scars – these things that are completely normal for aging women – are obstacles to feeling one’s erotic power. That’s not right. It’s not ok with me. There is so much more to sexuality than that. Bodies are literally the very surface of our sex. The erotic is something that resides in our minds, hearts, and souls.

I think one of the greatest gifts one can receive from attending hometown sex positive or kink parties, even as voyeur, is the realization that sexiness has so much more to do with how openly we express ourselves than how we look. Most people want us to claim our sexiness and will respond positively. I know from experience that this is true. Sexiness comes from within and has everything to do with our willingness to be true to who we are. Based on my real world experiences, most men (and women) are not as obsessed with the perfection of bodies as we are made to believe by our culture (and the few that are don’t matter). And nobody is paying as close attention to each of our so-called flaws as we are to our own, most especially if we’re giving them something sexy to enjoy in us.

One of the aspects of the Impropriety Society parties that I loved best was our amateur performances. Regular people were brave enough to get on stage and share their sexuality with us. Some were funny. Some were musical (one of our most popular was a drum solo on three women’s asses). Some were downright sexy (the woman who was 8 months pregnant and did an incredible strip dance). Some were edgy. Most were awesome and even when they weren’t, the crowd was respectful because they admired the bravery it took to try.

What I observed at parties is that the aspect of sexiness that is most deeply responded to is the expression, not the package it comes in. A woman of any size or shape who is on a spanking bench offering her ass to her partner with zeal is damn sexy. Any woman who lets herself get lost in her erotic power on the dance floor is damn sexy. Any woman laced into a corset, because corsets have the power to lift us up energetically as well as physically, is damn sexy. When a woman is in her erotic power, very few are looking at her wrinkles or her stretch marks. It’s actually the vulnerability we find most attractive. This is the thing we have backwards in our minds. We fear being vulnerable because we think something about us is undesirable/unlovable, but it is our vulnerability that makes us most desirable and connects us most deeply to others.

I know because I experimented with being vulnerable on purpose in order to break out of my own shell. I am fairly average looking, 5’9″, 250 lbs, droopy breasts from nursing three children, and covered in stretch marks, as well as hair because I have too much testosterone in my body from PCOS and I am too sensitive to removal from the knees up. I dressed in very revealing lingerie that I felt sexy in, or sometimes went nude during scenes, and every single person I ever interacted with was positive about my body. I sometimes even had enough awareness to notice people watching my scenes, or my dancing, and recognize that I was being appreciated for what I was sharing. People always reflected the best of me back to myself. I was flirted with, kissed, cuddled, and played with by many, some I was astounded by because they were beyond beautiful to my eyes and I couldn’t believe I was desirable to them.

I know vulnerability is most attractive because when I would be with groups of people talking about what they saw at a party, it was always the people who were really open that were most popular, not the ones that were traditionally beautiful. The furries who came in full costume were constantly surrounded by people on the dance floor rather than ostracized for being weird. The 80 year old man who came in hilarious revealing costumes was appreciated for his humor rather judged for his multitudes of wrinkles. I always heard compliments, never put downs, about women’s sexy outfits no matter what size or shape they were. I witnessed very large people, super skinny people, aging people, disabled people, trans people, awkward people, and people with every possible fetish find their sexiness in community. It was very rare that someone didn’t find their place, and it was always due to some combination of insecurity and difficulty understanding appropriate boundaries. I witnessed some of those who came to us timid and awkward, some at first even considered creepy, transform into powerful erotic beings that took our breath away.

All of this is to say please know and trust that it’s your erotic power and vulnerability you need to work with rather than your body to find your sexy. This is where role models can be really helpful, especially if you can’t go to in person events for whatever reason. There are a lot of sex positive leaders on FB and the interwebs at large who are big, bold, and brave about their sexuality that could show you this power in action.

Vulnerability In Action

Vulnerability In Action

Kissing {poem}

Tags

Kissing

They are kissing, on a park bench,
on the edge of an old bed, in a doorway
or on the floor of a church. Kissing
as the streets fill with balloons
or soldiers, locusts or confetti, water
or fire or dust. Kissing down through
the centuries under sun or stars, a dead tree,
an umbrella, amid derelicts. Kissing
as Christ carries his cross, as Gandhi
sings his speeches, as a bullet
careens through the air toward a child’s
good heart. They are kissing,
long, deep, spacious kisses, exploring
the silence of the tongue, the mute
rungs of the upper palate, hungry
for the living flesh. They are still
kissing when the cars crash and the bombs
drop, when the babies are born crying
into the white air, when Mozart bends
to his bowl of soup and Stalin
bends to his garden. They are kissing
to begin the world again. Nothing
can stop them. They kiss until their lips
swell, their thick tongues quickening
to the budded touch, licking up
the sweet juices. I want to believe
they are kissing to save the world,
but they’re not. All they know
is this press and need, these two-legged
beasts, their faces like roses crushed
together and opening, they are covering
their teeth, they are doing what they have to do
to survive the worst, they are sealing
the hard words in, they are dying
for our sins. In a broken world they are
practicing this simple and singular act
to perfection. They are holding
onto each other. They are kissing.

~Dorianne Laux

Embracing the Shame Demon

Tags

,

I woke up this morning with lots of energy and in an unusually good mood. To be honest, that I’m sitting here clear headed, motivated, and writing at 9:00 a.m. is mind-boggling. My heart tells me this is because I finally shined the light on the shame that was holding me back from community. Just the simple act of writing down the experiences that cause me to feel shame yesterday has lightened me. I feel stronger, bolder, more willing to be vulnerable.

Shame and vulnerability expert Brene Brown says the following in her book Daring Greatly:

“There are a couple of very helpful ways to think about shame. First, shame is the fear of disconnection. We are psychologically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually hardwired for connection, love, and belonging. Connection, along with love and belonging (two expressions of connection), is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Shame is the fear of disconnection – it’s the fear that something we’ve done or failed to do, an ideal we’ve not lived up to, or a goal that we’ve not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection…

Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” 

Shame is the number one factor in keeping us isolated and unable to experience the connection that surrounds us. I’ve seen shame in action – in my mother, my ex-husband, and other loved ones. I’ve seen how shame causes us to withdraw, hide, make ourselves small, and isolate ourselves from connection. Being disconnected makes the shame stronger as we become lonely, depressed, addicted, etc. Our behaviors in response to our shame make us more ashamed. It’s an endless cycle until we’re willing to drag our shame into the light and say, “I did this thing or have this behavior that is wrong, foolish, inappropriate, or harmful to myself and/or others. I am sorry I hurt myself and/or others with this and ask forgiveness. I am showing my vulnerability now in order to experience that I am still a human worthy of love and acceptance. I did something wrong, but I am not wrong and know that I can do better.”

Being able to face our shame is a significant aspect of resilience, a quality that defines our ability to pick ourselves up after trauma and/or failure. Before we can recognize someone else loving and accepting us despite our flaws, we have to be able to love and accept ourselves enough to look our shame in the eye. To name what we are ashamed of and be able to continue perceiving ourselves as a good and lovable human.

Facing shame is facing our humanity. We are such complicated systems of nerves, hormones, neurons, thoughts, and emotions. Learning how and why we behave the way we do empowers us with awareness, compassion, and an opportunity to change something we don’t like about ourselves.

I’ve often said that I believe my mother died of her pain, but really, I think she died of her shame. She died completely alone, having driven away everyone that ever loved her. In the months previous to her death, she manifested her shame physically as a skin condition in which she said “fibers” were growing out of her body. She picked at herself mercilessly. Initially it was only on her scalp and she choose to shave her head and wear a wig. Then she began creating sores visible on her hands, arms, and face, so that the school where she taught first graders was planning to let her go because she looked too sick.

I can see now that it was her shame, her belief that her flaws made her unlovable, that prevented her from healing and building connection with others. I know she was ashamed of traumas that happened in her childhood and she was ashamed of being a less than perfect mother. I know that she was ashamed she was in poverty most of her life and received more help than she thought she deserved. I imagine that she was ashamed of being mentally ill, an addict, and being a co-dependent partner with an addict for years. I imagine she was ashamed for being unable to find a secure job that didn’t make her miserable until she was 50 years old.

I will not live or die like my mother.
So here I am, making myself vulnerable by illuminating some of my shame.

What I am ashamed of:

1) I am ashamed of having a relationship with a man who later became a community joke for foolish and immature behavior. I am ashamed that he rejected partnership with me because of my emotional and hormone challenges. I felt I must be too crazy to be lovable.

2) I am ashamed of a relationship with a couple who compared me to a feral cat and gave me a two page of list of things I did wrong on our last date. This time I was too rough around the edges to be lovable.

3) I am ashamed of a power exchange relationship with a man who objectified me in every possible way, including emotionally (which was non-consensual). I still don’t know why I wasn’t worth anymore than a fling to him. I am ashamed that I chose that relationship over Eros for a couple months. I am ashamed of how that relationship literally brought me to my knees as I hit rock bottom with my addiction to emotional masochism.

4) I am ashamed of being publicly humiliated by multiple community members who put my flaws out into the world in unkind ways.

5) I am ashamed because I was judged and put down by friends and lovers as too emotional, too loud, too woo-woo, and too irrational. I am ashamed of every time my emotions have led to violent communication, even if I was provoked. And I am ashamed of backing down when I should have stood up for myself and/or others.

6) I am ashamed of compromising my integrity and self respect by having sex, or certain kinds of sex, when I really didn’t want to on several occasions.

7) I am ashamed of the number of rejections I experienced in my relationship explorations and the circumstances around some of them.

8) I am ashamed of my last time on stage in front of the Imps community, as well as leaving the event early. I was exhausted and couldn’t find my joy or mojo (I didn’t know I was having such a hard time because I was pregnant). I am ashamed I couldn’t finish the job. Then when nobody contacted me after to see if I was ok or say they missed me, I felt more ashamed because it seemed like no one noticed or cared that I wasn’t there.

9) I am ashamed of letting my partners down (I actually have bad dreams because of this one).

10) I am ashamed of having Fibromyalgia and how it limits me and what I have to give to the people I love. I am ashamed that my life mirrors my mother’s in this regard, that pain plays a role in my experience of life every single day.

11) And most recently, I am ashamed that I haven’t found a job after 8 months of applications and interviews.

Writing these things down is hard, but it’s not so big and scary as my lizard brain told me it would be. With all of these situations I can see where to have compassion for myself because of factors that were/are out of my control. I can see that I am so much more than any person’s perception of me, or any of the judgments people make about my emotional and flawed nature. With all that’s evolved in me the last couple years, I am reaching a place of less reaction and more compassion, both for myself and others. Each of those experiences and relationships was a building block to the amazing life I have now that only promises to keep blowing my mind and take me into deeper experiences of love. But that can only happen, I can only deepen these connections, if I shift my shame to resilience and my failures to opportunities.

What about you? Consider where shame may be preventing you from connection. Take the risk of pointing a light in that direction. While whatever you are ashamed of may appear to be a lonely black hole you’ll get lost in, it’s actually an opportunity bring connection and love into your life.

Thank you for listening.

The Devil and the Queen of Cups

Tags

, ,

UniversalTarot3There has been magic around my word of the year already. Within 24 hours of getting the word Community, I pulled a Tarot card for the year, as well as a card to show me where to find my strongest support. The card for the year is The Devil, which I have to admit made me throw up in my mouth a little, and would be easy to interpret in a hard and/or negative way (it generally represents the ego, the small self that wants to stay safe). However this line in the meaning of the card stood out for me, “One’s inner darkness and shame must be confronted, otherwise it becomes a chain.”

I recognized in recent months that I allowed my inner darkness and shame to prevent me from nurturing deeper relationships with my tribe, as well as resist building community in the ways I feel called since moving to Portland. After my year of Vulnerability in 2012 took me to my rock bottom as an emotional masochist, I’ve been hiding (duh – I was resistant to the word thing at first because I’m scared of having a word!). As a result, I have deep fear of being vulnerable, as well as shame related to my actions and experiences that year. In 2014 I have been taking what feel like tiny steps to start putting myself out into relationship, into art, and and public dialogue again.

I can see in hindsight this quiet and introverted time was needed to process and heal the heaviness and wounds of the last 6 six years, but now I am getting a resounding message that it’s time to turn toward the future I desire to create and step into my bigness again. Which leads back to community. I need to face my darkness and shame so that I can find my capacity for vulnerability again. It’s both exciting and terrifying (who wants to look their shame in the face?).

I also spent the last 8 months researching, gathering information, and planting idea seeds in the soil of my creativity, all in regards to radical mysticism, sacred activism, building resilient communities, creating belonging through radical inclusion, and the power of gift economies. The momentum is building and I am feeling sparked, fired up with inspiration. I have a notebook full of thoughts and information I’ve collected. When I reviewed it last night, I started seeing the bright threads that are weaving themselves into the foundation a web project and series of community art projects. So while this time being unemployed has been quiet, boring, and seemingly unproductive, it has actually been a time of incubation, the building of new life. (Huh – interesting to realize how similar it looks to the time I was pregnant with our magic baby.)

Anyway, the other card I drew, my support card, is the Queen of Cups. Which is perfect, because she is me. I bought the Universal Tarot deck specifically because I saw the art for this card and new I was looking at myself. Her description includes the following, which are my greatest strengths! “Emotionally based in a stable way. Powers to receive and transmit feelings with great subtlety, indeed she reflects those around her so precisely that it is hard to perceive her own true nature (empathy!). Pure soul, benevolent and receptive.” Empathy is one of my strongest gifts and is also one of the most powerful values needed in building community. Now that I am emotionally stable and have my needs for belonging met, it’s incredible to feel the power of turning to my greatest strengths as a means of support for this journey.

I am feeling a sense of magic and support from the Universe as momentum grows and I become more devoted to what is growing inside of me. Community is going to be a driving force in my life this year. Honoring that and guiding my choices by my values in relationship to community may be a powerful catalyst for a more vibrant existence as I enter into this new stage of my life.

Thank you for listening.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers