I finally took a morning to myself and went out into the creek to lie in the sand and write in my journal. It's my moontime and this month has been a bit rocky. Ever since getting married, I've noticed that I haven't really taken the time to write in my journal. And this is such a loss, because the space that this place provides for me is so immense - it aerates my sense of responsibility to my own spiritual path and helps me to clarify what is really important in my life. It also helps me to take note of and understand what I it means and feels like to be in this human body of mine, as a woman on planet earth, at this point in time, at this point in my life.
I've been noticing an interesting pattern of tension in the week prior to my period. I've never had very strong PMS or identified with that very much, but I am starting to see more and more a pattern of tension there. This is not just hormonal, I think its very uninteresting to reduce PMS down to that. It's a much larger issue, and an important one.
What I'm beginning to perceive is that there are three strands of attention and awareness in me that guide my life and that have different levels of importance depending on where I am in my cycle. Imagine the start point of the cycle being the period. The five days of the period are like an altered dimension - a very special time in which you can go internal very very deep, but which can be painful and very hard if your life is not organized (as most women's aren't) to permit them to sink down into that level of depth and reflection. So the three strands of attention are 1) attention on engaging with others (includes sexual attention), 2) attention on going within and on the inner process, and 3) pure presence with all that arises.
I'm starting to see my cycle after my period begins with these needs, or places I put my attention - the need to engage with others and the need to go within - starting at the same point at ovulation and menstruation and branching away from each other between, but in opposite curvatures. The need to go within curves further into the background after my period as the need to engage with others or my lover curves more to the foreground. This actually peaks a few days prior to ovulation, and then the two strands start to curve back towards eachother, reaching together at the point of ovulation, where these two needs cross paths. After ovulation, the strand of the need to go within starts to curve up to the foreground, and the strand of the need to engage with others curves into the background. So its like a dance. Imagine each form of attention and engagement undulating like a wave pattern and intersecting with its opposite through the two apertures of ovulation and menstruation. The straight line that runs through the middle of both of them and through the whole cycle is pure presence - no need to be alone, no need to be in relationship, just aware of what is arising.
Of course, I'd like to be more even keeled and more in tune with that third form of attention more often, and to the extent that I can manage a meditation practice, I can do that. But the meditation practice is the inner work, coming from the need to go within - and that is what gets the most compromised even though that is actually the most important thing to me, more important even than sex. Given that our culture, our schedules, are not organized to facilitate spiritual reflection, it goes on the back burner. The result is that even when I want to engage with others, I may not have the spark, the center, from which to engage as genuinely or flowingly as I would like. So the need to go within and the need to engage with others mutually inform each other, are totally dependent on each other in order for me to flow well. Even during the part of my cycle where the need to engage more may be dominant, it is still CRUCIAL that I pay attention to that background need, the need to go within - because then I pace myself in the outer world and am more energized, have more richness to offer.
I've found that my manner of lovemaking in the first half of this cycle is initially more virginal and innocent, then as I get more horny, is more playful. I may just like sex for the interaction or for the potential for fertilization, and am less prone to needing intimacy or profound sexual connection during lovemaking. I am more satisfied with really basic physical interactions at these times.
In the second half of my cycle - and this is where the tension mounts - I often find myself having a hard time explaining why I want so badly to be left alone and why also I feel sexually demanding. I am sure biologically that this has something to do with knowing that the fertilization opportunity has passed and so needing more confirmation of desirability from a mate, but I think it is more than this too.
My theory now is that the tension comes form 1) not having recognized the cycle clearly enough to make it a priority to give myself more and more time alone as my period nears (and this has often built up over the full month of not having prioritized this at all), 2) trying to replace the intimacy I would be having with myself if I were alone with the intimacy of sex, and 3) needing sex to be much more profound in the second half of the cycle.
I find that unlike the first half of the cycle, where I am more carefree and superficial in my sexual needs, in the second half of the cycle I want less sex but I want it to be more profound, more deep, because the interior part of myself, the part of myself that wants to go within and has gone within, is much deeper within me to reach. I find that I am less easily aroused in the second half and my idea of what would turn me on has a lot more to do with a desire for slowness and deep connection and intimacy than any need for physical release. If I didn't ignore my need for time alone or spiritual practice, and nurtured this more in my life, that internal part of myself, my essential nature, would probably not be so deeply lodged within me and would also not be so begrudging. It's like she is saying, "Oh, so now you want to get deep? You want to just press the deep button, hm?" It doesn't quite work that way. The depth is cultivated, and in being cultivated, the depth comes more to the surface to the extent that is it prioritized as an essential part of life - recognized and valued.
I think that when a man approaches a woman sexually in the second half of the cycle and just gives her physical pleasure, he is really missing out and in a way, it will make her even more bitchy - because even while she does need sex, she needs it for a different reason. I find that I need stillness and eye contact much more at this time, and that presence is what I am looking for. The essential part of me that wants to make love at this time is much, much deeper in my body and it will not come out with the usual pattern of lovemaking. That part is waiting for a very special reason to come out. Or it may not come out at all, and the only way it will be discovered is if my man is feeling deep enough to get really, really deep.
I've found my husband is not really up to the whole Karezza thing, tho we've practiced versions of it since knowing one another. He understands the idea behind karezza and he has experienced the benefits, but he's a sucker for orgasm. I'm a little dismayed that we have different priorities.
I've realized through this path of marriage (all seven months of it!), that 1) my spiritual practice needs to become the most important priority in my life, 2) knowing my cycle helps immensely in me being able to honor my body and spirit, 3) karezza is one option, it is not the same thing as not having an orgasm, and it takes two people, 4) karezza, like most everything good in life, is a practice, not a technique 5) my own sensuality - my spark, my appreciation for nature, my ability to nurture who I essentially am, which is the force of what is attractive about me - is my responsibility, 6) 90% of what my beloved husband and I (or myself and anyone) communicate to one another is the result of tone and gesture, and maybe 10% words, 7) time management is space management, and 8) there is a still, potent intelligence underneath everything. We're fools to ignore it. Learning how to come into contact with that intelligence is my birthright and my life's purpose. Which brings me back to #1), the WAY to come into that contact - my spiritual practice needs to become the most important priority in my life.