Oasis Connection

Self Care Making Time For You

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Making an ally and friend of yourself unlocks a state of well-being.

 

If you have an ally, that is someone on your side. Ally comes from the Latin word alligare, meaning "to bind to," — an act of coming together, a protection of one.

 

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Yet, as a Life Coach, I find there are those who rather than being an ally to themselves,  are instead their own worst enemy. Most of the time they are unconscious of doing it to themselves until they have come undone. Often it is unconscious, the shadow side of themselves and acting without knowledge of what one really wants to accomplish. I am reminded of the quote: “The most reliable friend you have is your shadow.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

 

It comes later, as a revelation to them, to discover that self-awareness must be a key component for well-being and therefore success. To have success is to have communication with yourself. In other words, you are always in a relationship with yourself, the question is what kind is it?  Not to sound weird, but this relationship with yourself should be arguably one of the most important relationships that you have.

 

This Self-relationship is a foundation for everything else. Having said that, this self-relationship is not to be confused with negative compulsions of narcissism, nor on the other hand with overwhelming blame and shame about ourselves, rather it should identify traits that focus our being in a good place, to organize our self so that things happen in effective ways that allow for good interpersonal skills, and as a byproduct, produces success according to the individual’s own definition of success.

 

In other words, for you to focus on yourself in such a way to produce crucial development for a healthy sense of self. It is about gaining knowledge and having an understanding of how you operate and liking what you see in that process.

This establishes a baseline for you from which to work that can extend beyond yourself to others in ways that are altruistic and advantageous to all.

 

 This is going to take being a good friend to yourself first, by  developing and sustaining your relationship with the self.

 

One way to start, is by checking out how you speak to yourself. Remember everything you say you hear as well. No matter if talking to a room full of people or by yourself. This would include not only the words you say out loud but also the words you think. Words have an emotional imprint. Check yourself to see if you tend to speak harshly to yourself (either in your spoken voice or in your thinking voice).

 

If you catch yourself negatively impacting yourself with your self-talk, find a way to stop and observe. Try and see the emotional atmosphere you find yourself in — is there anger or agitation, is your heart rate up, are the words criticizing? Take a breath, slow it down and consciously reappraise the situation, in an effort to be gentler with yourself before continuing with any more outward action.

 

reappraise the situation,  in an effort to be gentler with yourself before continuing with any more outward action.  

 

Some life coaching clients find it helpful to practice conversations out loud with themselves— under the right conditions, doing so can be very useful. By consciously  using  the thoughts you’ve assembled  you have the capacity to unearth feelings buried within the words  to make possible clear differences in your discourse of what is advantageous and that which does not promote or contribute to personal or social well-being.

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That said, know that it takes time to develop a new habit. It will require your desire and your motivation to build this skill.

 

Journaling is another good practice to capture, record reactions, and keep track of your progress with self-talk. It is a place to start getting to know more about you. Journaling as a habit becomes an invaluable way to acquaint oneself with and to change personal experiences for the better.

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Journaling seems easier to accomplish if you will begin by setting small manageable goals, such as writing for just 15 minutes a day. Once in the routine, beginners will gain a new slant or perspective on their behaviors, while for seasoned chroniclers these insights provide motivation to continue.

You are in essence creating a new habit, one that by sticking to it keeps you conscious of and befriending yourself.

 

 In the beginning, as I mention, it may require some effort. Fortunately, if you keep at it and can eventually practice it daily, the process will become easier for you and eventually become an automatic part of your daily routine

Calvin’s Learning Circle’s

Calvin’s Learning Circle’s

 More on Journaling in upcoming articles. For my readers asking for deeper work, may I suggest a small group or one on one session that can be arranged with me? In addition, The Prosperos School of Ontology offers two seminars that are extremely useful: Translation and Releasing the Hidden Splendor. The classes offer tools for reaching change, a change in consciousness, not a change in “things.” You can contact me at my email address for more information about these classes, small group activities, or one on one mentoring services by going to the Contact Page.

 

Let me conclude with these words:

 “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

Thanks for reading

Calvin

Calvin On Learning

How One Student Grows For Self & Others

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Calvin Harris H.W. M.  isn’t simply teaching classes. He is deeply invested in how to better embody its lessons.  He takes to heart these words: “What An Educator Does In Teaching  Is To Make It Possible For The Students to Become Themselves” - quote by the Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Reglus Neves Freire known for his work with adult illiterates and for promoting critical pedagogy, a theory, and practice of helping students achieve critical consciousness. Calvin’s learning of Critical Consciousness came from a different path, for as a young person his search for Truth and self-understanding lead him to the teaching and later apprenticeship from Master Teacher Thane Walker, in his School The Prosperos, founded 1956 in Florida and operated in California since the 1960’s

Calvin uncovered his calling or dharma in 1969, in the Prospers, and his ultimate goal is to be able to facilitate change. To help build and sustain a holistic community, organized in a way so one can experience more intensive programs of self-discovery and learning. Calvin says: “My students, I want to give extraordinary experiences, perspectives that they would not be able to experience singularly. Training that is immersive, found in intimate group settings using handpicked subject matter with  unique perspectives, all with the goal of providing a sense of  drawing forth from within, and creating  transformative knowing within the student, in both mind and in spirit.”  

 

This speaks to his teaching trajectory, of offering practices and a way for the teachings to have embodiment. He says: “I love the idea of belonging to a strong community collectively working to become a more aware, insightful, sensuousness, conscious organization. I like to support creating leaders and role models that can extend our community with a positive message. Extending to others the challenge and joy of practices to know thyself.

I like the feel of working with others,  of when I am conversing, eating, drinking, exercising, just moving with conscious intention surrounded by others, all who are doing the work – then I am at home, living my dharma in the core of beingness.” 

Self Care Making Time For You

 

Making Time For You

by Calvin Harris H.W., M.

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Between the demands of working and bringing home a paycheck, family obligations, paying the bills, social media, and a little time for friends . . . it feels like no time is left for you.

 

As part of Self-Care month, I wanted you to focus on making time for yourself. Self-Care is another way of saying let’s be Healthy. Which is really different from saying let me be selfish.

 

Another idea to consider about Health, is that health is not always maintained from medicines. Medicine suggests you can be relieved of dis-ease, or chemically restore a balance in pursuit of the healthy Body. A healthy lifestyle, I suggest, may take you further than just medicine alone. Consider adding activities and things that contribute to peace of mind, peace in the heart, peace in the soul. And, oh yes, liberal amounts of laughter and love to be applied daily for self-care.

 

To have a healthy lifestyle takes a change in habits, a conscious focus to make time for yourself each day, even if it is only fifteen minutes a day. It is important but, unfortunately, I have seen from clients in my life coaching business time and again it’s something they will let slide or neglect in their busy stressed-out life and wonder why they feel the way they do.

 

When your thoughts are negative or unsupportive of your happiness and success you feel out of balance or dis-eased. You will find that to change your thinking means to stop beating yourself up: instead, redirect your thinking to thoughts that will support your success and happiness. Laugh, if you can, when you think about the time you have spent obsessing over matters that are not happening or have run their course and are completed.

 

Suggestion: Arrange whatever small block of time you can to just stop - and draw back from the fast-paced routine of the day to just be truly with yourself and, if possible, define how you feel, or what you’ve learned or experienced. In those moments with yourself take stock to see how you live, and most importantly what gives you enjoyment. The importance of this exercise is that you are not just letting your life slip away from you.

 

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Self-Care moments exist to counteract living life on autopilot. Use tools like journaling to become more mindful in your day-to-day life. It can take just minutes a day to inspire valuable Habit changes. Two wonderful sources I use and that can get you started in that direction are: First, the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey, which is a book written on Covey's belief that the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions. And the second is by a company called Vertellis, who has put out an actual journaling formatted book called Vertellis Chapters Journal. I highly recommend both for anyone looking to draw out of themselves and refresh their perspective on how they view the world and are living their lives in it. This is also preparation for those who choose to move their life forward. (Unsurprisingly, this forward movement comes with a feeling of living in gratitude and to have no regrets.)

 

Over the next 7 to 10 years, the world will look a whole lot different. “AI” Technology will see to that! Computer monitors and other screen-time activities will obliterate “quality”-self-time and instill the mantra “staying busy is more important than self-reflection." Unfortunately, this can create less understanding of oneself and the ability one has for crucial thinking and coping with change in a healthy manner. So, my mission is to facilitate meaningful habit changes with Life Coaching and encouraging self-dialog through Journaling and small group activities. I liken Journaling to going through a maze or Labyrinth of your mind, giving you an outlet for self-reflection and development.

 

Encouraging these offline moments increases space for self-reflection and can spark sincere conversations with yourself and people you care about to inspire a wholeness within you, through reflection, and self-awareness for a happier, satisfying and more meaningful life.

 

A satisfying life is what I call a successful life. It goes against conventional thinking, but the word successful, in its normal sense of the word usually is the measure of “other people’s criteria" or standards, not by what the individual creates as criteria for themselves. Flip that around with the use of the word Satisfaction: Now, you see, that is measured, and criteria of your own mind, heart, and efforts are in play.

 

Routine Daily habits of journaling will allow you to identify your greatest hopes, fears, and dreams, to process that information before you go into a situation that truly matters to you; to learn and name what could hold you back from exploring your innate creativity; to find the nature of what holds you in its grip such as “you’re scared of being disliked”, or “people don’t hear your voice”, or “ fear of letting other people down” –etc., etc. The practice of pinpointing your emotional state is what psychologists call emotional granularity. It is suggested that people who exhibit greater emotional granularity regulate their feelings better and have a greater sense of satisfaction regarding appropriate responses in stressful situations.

 

Making time for yourself, with daily Journaling, is Self Care that helps you speak to and act with greater control of your interactions, rather than pushing emotions down and numbing yourself to life or being tossed around like salad when stressful situations hit.

 

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To sum up, having a healthy lifestyle takes a change in habits, creating a routine that makes time for yourself – operating in mind, heart, and soul, to consciously focus each day. This type of Self Care gives you the opportunity to see yourself as Conscious mind, the ability to think, "to create and govern thought" and as the vehicle to create your reality.

 

To investigate this idea further go to https://www.theprosperos.com/  There you will find audio lessons for individual and community group learning.

 

For Life-Coaching contact Calvin: ialchemy1@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Tools for A Self-Directed Life

Focus To Move Forward When You Feel Paralyzed by Uncertainty By Calvin

Jimmy Flint-Smith's photo shoot by Juan Coronado

Jimmy Flint-Smith's photo shoot by Juan Coronado

 

“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.” ~Eckhart Tolle

A young man in a job, in a career that he is not enjoying finds that it is breaking his spirit, but he remains there for fear of what leaving will bring.

He doesn’t know if he will find another position that is better for him, yet he does know having his menial job will provide an income even if it is just a cut above having none at all.

 

Another young man’s dilemma is not moving at all towards options to acquire a job. So many kinds of job available and yet he worries that he has no experience in any of them.

 

Uncertainty is created in both these scenarios, they ponder whether or not their weighting the chances of if their decisions are right, and this keeps them rooted  in questions and their doing nothing, keeps them suspended in limbo, with a side into  moderate depression.  They are  caught in a claw of paralysis.

 

I think we have all known the harsh clutches of uncertainty at one time or another. That feeling , to waver about every decision we faced, feeling afraid to make a move one way or another for fear that some mistakes cannot be undone.

 

Thus, we resisted making a move to change. We resisted  going to a new job or starting our own business. because  one could fail.

 

Often times than not you will find people in this situation  unhappy and silently praying for something to happen to help them out. But they will continually stay their in a thought loop unable to move.

 

The philosopher, Emily Maroutian,  who is also an award-winning writer, and poet is quoted as saying  “You’re not stuck. You’re just committed to certain patterns of behavior because they helped you in the past. Now those behaviors have become more harmful than helpful.  The reason why you can’t move forward is because you keep applying an old formula to a new level in your life. Change the formula to get a different result.”

 

For some it has to get so bad that they wake up gasping for air, feeling that if they don’t move, they will die.

So, before it gets to all of that, how do you move forward in uncertainty?

1. Accept that the root cause  of uncertainty is fear of failure.

It is recognizing the fear, rather than what uncertainty  may bring in the future.  Fear, that a decision today will bring a more stressful or painful tomorrow. Not knowing that they are enduring  now, a worst-case scenario in their minds than the likelihood of that scenario becoming reality that is what really keeps them bound, and not the ‘uncertainty  itself.

 

An examination of what is their habitual thinking about their situation that loops through their mind. That stirs the emotions anytime they think about doing something that would create change.

 

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1. Understand that many times the initial efforts one would use for change can fail. Yet conscious attention on how something  failed holds the best opportunities for growth and moving forward. Thus,  go with it, and embracing uncertainty knowing it is the key to overcoming failure.

2. Feel okay about not being in control. Embrace the idea that nothing is completely within your control. Nothing in life is guaranteed. It is just as likely that you’d find a job leading to a successful career  or have a business succeed, as it is that it would fail. Life is a risk, and without uncertainty, surprises would not exist.

3. Be willing to be open ended to the universe. Releasing expectations of what should happen and instead be willing to make the best use of what is in your power to do and make do with the rest as it happens.”

 

To sum up, understand that the power of your habits in thinking, and your patterns of thought, are strong, strong enough to overpower  common sense and practical wisdom. Understand the need to observe your habits, to check out what you say about yourself in your daily routines is what creates the constructs that dictate your life.

Small Business Owner

Small Business Owner

 

So, if you are facing paralyzing fear of the unknown, your best solution is to move a step forward. Experience the negative effects, of uncertainty in your thoughts, as many have done before you, own up to the fear in your thoughts and take small steps to move pass them, make moves to change, and when you do, you too will survive and have a good chance to even thrived.

Tools for A Self-Directed Life

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Random Thoughts on Inspiration and Creativity

Breathe in, Breathe out, it is in this rhythmic process that we truly function and have our life fully lived. While I was sitting and paying attention to my breathing, watching the thoughts that where passing through my consciousness, my attention went to productivity and creative process.

I stopped here in my thoughts, I pondered. Many creative people, who may not even be aware that they are creative, will often spend their lives looking to consume the world around them and forget to also be productive that is to say bring about their own creations.

Like breathing, it is not an either /or situation but both, a rhythmic process of breathing in, and breathing out. So yes, you want to consume or catch fire with the ideas of other people, but don't ignore the power of your own actions to process that information for change, that is to inspire both you and others. The best fuel for this comes from the application of ideas, rather than the consumption of them.

Breathe in…You could say that it is easy to spend all your time searching for inspiration, that’s like breathing in. You would be rewarded with all kinds of finds - incredible videos, music, articles, emails, and news stories, from all sorts of source including your friends. But the only ones that truly matters are the types of inspiration that can be apply to your own goals.

Make no mistake: it's important to be a learner, any successful person in any field has to be able to soak up new information. Finding inspiration and motivation in the work and success of others, that is the action of breathing in.

But here's the problem: what has been breathe in and consumed must finish the process and breathe out again.. Acknowledging others success isn't the same thing as creating your own.

Instead, it is through the process of getting inspiration — activating that information in some form of creative act i.e.- trying out something for the first time, even failing at it, to learn how to better apply new ideas is our goals, and making mistakes is part of it— discovering who we are and what is important to us.

Inspiration is the fuel of long—term passion and enthusiasm. Working with new ideas making them your own through taking action and working them so they apply to your life will inspire you more than anything someone else could do or say.

Know that you need the learning and listening skills that can help you think about things in different ways, but by experimenting, reworking to create, and produce these ideas in to new ways of being, now that is what will give you momentum and propel you forward.

“If you come across a good idea, use it. We spend so much time trying to find more inspirational things to consume that it can be easy for us to forget that the best form of inspiration comes from what we create”. – Author James Clear

Now Breathe out.

Tools For The Self Directed Life

An Effective Strategy To Keeping Your Focus

 By Calvin Harris H. W., M.

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We are daily bombarded with more information and communications, sometimes its call new and improved, and the pitch we receive is that to get it will allow us to  Have it all, be it all, and do it all. Particularly if it applies to our careers. Sometimes we think that utilizing all the new information that comes our way, is the only path to success.

The result is, you find yourself spending more hours, downloading cool new apps, and trying to keep up on social media. Now I ask you, how is that working out for you?

Inherent in that behavior is the risk factor of burnout. You can find your time and energy being drained away and add to that  Instant connectivity through our phones and computers and your time and energy is really gone, and yet, the time for your path to success becomes less and less and is really under pressure to happen at all.

Have it all, be it all, and do it all. .  is a lot easier said than done.  To say “yes,” too often means ending up overwhelmed. But how do you prioritize competing priorities to stay ahead without driving yourself crazy?

You need to stop, step back, review and analyze where your attention has gone, then recalibrate new habits to invest your attention wisely to get ahead.

 

I Suggest An Attention Charter

Book Deep Work by Cal Newport

Book Deep Work by Cal Newport

A quick overview about an Attention Charter and Why  You would want to  create one. Starts with a Georgetown University computer science professor, Blogger, and author named Cal[vin] Newport. Newport popularized the Attention Charter in his writings about the “intersection of technology and society.“ In his blog - Study Hacks Decoding Patterns Of Success, He points out the impact of new technologies on our ability to perform productive work and to lead satisfying lives.

TheAttention Charter is a document that lists the general reasons that you’ll allow for someone or something to lay claim to your time and attention. For each reason, it then describes under what conditions and for what quantities [of time] you’ll permit this commitment.” – says Mr. Newport.

It takes a bit of effort to create these guidelines and then set them as habits, but once you do, your attention is no longer distracted whenever something comes along demanding your immediate attention. Instead of reacting in the moment—and thus losing sight of what’s truly important—you would follow your outline charter.

This helps you own your time, and to be more intentional with it. You’re the one setting the limits and yes, that can be scary, but it can lead to better results. You could even spend fewer hours in a week working on projects and yet find that a greater portion of your time is spent being proactive on what actually matters.

That extra time, could be used to take better care of yourself, maintain healthier relationships, and maybe even to sleep better!

 

 

How to Create an Attention Charter

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Your Attention Charter is a list of guidelines to help you weigh competing priorities.

It is not a blanket ban on all of your activities. Emails, phone calls, and meetings are going to happen it is inevitable. The trick is coming up with the right proportion  of time vs activity to be vital in keeping to your visions of success, while not having these activities distract from reaching that success. In fact some of these activities can be an integral part of your equation for achieving success by focusing on the big picture.

For example, you might limit yourself to:

  • Only attending meetings with a 60-minute time limit and a clearly defined agenda

  • Not to respond to text messages between certain hours (9 and 5 ) unless it’s during a break, lunch, or an emergency

  • Not to access a certain website (social media, porno, etc.) during certain times frames of your day.

  • Not to schedule social or professional contacts for 3-hour lunches more than twice a month

  • To travel to a educational/ industry/professional  conference each quarter

You decide the guidelines. They can be as general or specific as you like. Notice how the examples above aren’t too strict. They allow for certain exceptions or situations where you would want to engage in the activities. It’s not about banning things; it’s about being more intentional with our choices.

Your focus is to think through the different ways you could limit distraction. Once developed, you want to have this list available, written down on paper or on your computer, or laptop or phone for reference when you need it.

Radhika Nagpal, a computer science professor, used some of these principles to earn tenure at Harvard. She calculated the maximum number of hours she could devote to her career each week without neglecting her family. Working from that limit, she created rules for herself (like traveling only five times a year) that allowed her to advance her career without getting burned out by unimportant distractions.

 

Enforcing Your Attention Charter

Okay, you’ve created your Attention Charter, and you are ready to make them habits. You might find  when getting started it tougher to stick to it, or you slip up, at first that’s okay. Do the best you can. The point is to practice and exercise the new habits when you can. Just a few better choices each day really add up.

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You might, like me, have to confront some bad habits you’ve been struggling with for a while now. In moving pass bad habits Willpower will only get you so far, yet conscious focus and practicing the tools will keep you on track.  

Computer or Apps Junkies might find Website blocking apps empowering in blocking distracting websites, apps, or even the entire internet during hours when you need to be productive.

Small steps or goals at first, there’s no shame in starting small. After you become comfortable with the habits you’ve set with those guidelines, you can gradually add more. Your Attention Charter will evolve with time too, as the new habits become a natural part of your daily process.


 Make Better Choices—Without the Burnout

A workday can feel a lot like an obstacle course or tug-of-war for your attention.

Fortunately, by developing a focused attention on new  habits, like in the use of an Attention Charter, it will help you choose which direction to move without responding to compulsions  in the moment.

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Like Mr. Newport, I have to admit  I’m still monkeying around with my own attention charter. In other words, you’re hearing about this as a fledgling project, before I’ve made it into full functioning habits. Yet I’ve already found value in it, as one of us whose battle against distraction both unavoidably important and unavoidably nuances.

 

I’d like you to try it and then email me a comment and let me know what you think!

Why Are We Having So Little Sex?

Why Are We All Having So Little Sex?

By BELINDA LUSCOMBE -TIME Magazine writer - Health - October 26, 2018

 

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Ms. Luscombe article is coming to you by submission of one of my readers who also is a good friend, William Fennie, H. W., M., a mentor and counselor in his own right. His foresight into the relevance of this article and the nature of my Blogs made it a natural fit for the SOC website, Thank you William.


Matt, a 34-year-old data analyst from Texas, and his wife dated for seven years before getting married in 2013. When they didn’t live together, they had sex every time they saw each other. After they moved in, however, he says things changed. Their sex life became inconsistent. They’d have a really active week and then a month with nothing, or just one at-bat. It began to hurt their relationship…..he didn’t know how to talk about sex with his wife.. “I really didn’t want to be pushy on that issue,” he says. “She has the right to say no, always and forever.”

 

If Matt’s story sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. Americans are …not having sex in droves, according to the General Social Survey, a profile of American behavior that has been gathered by the National Opinion Research Council at the University of Chicago since 1972, the fraction of people getting it on, at least once a week fell from 45% in 2000 to 36% in 2016. One study of the GSS data showed that more than twice as many millennial’s were sexually ‘inactive’ in their early 20’s than the prior generation was. And the sharpest drop was the most recent, in the years 2014 to 2016.

 

How can this be? …This is the era when …social stigma around premarital sex is gone, hookups are not considered shameful, and the belief in limiting partners to one side of the gender line is no longer universal…. Contraception has reduced the risk of serious physical consequences… technological … helps willing partners find each other, endless free online porn to rev the engines… and [Viagra type drugs] to overcome the most common physical limitations for men.

What hasn’t changed, is that sex remains as exhilarating as it was for our ancestors. In fact, a safe, consensual romp with a loving and appropriate partner is one of life’s…delight with no downside…and pure, free fun.

 

Yet there is a slump. Nearly 20% of 18- to 29-year-old’s reported having no sex at all in 2016, an almost 50% rise over those who were celibate in 2000. “The downward trend is very real,” says Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at University of Maryland, College Park.

 

Jean Twenge, professor of psychology, San Diego State University wrote a much-cited paper for the Archives of Sexual Behavior about this downturn, says one big reason is marriage—…. Married people… have more sex than single people of the same age… because they’re already going to bed with someone who …is  having sex with them. The supply side of the equation is solved, only the demand side is a riddle.

 

What has remained constant, while the number of 20-something spouses has dropped. And increasingly, young people are eschewing having a relationship with one partner, and instead hanging out with a loosely assorted group of friends…[results] less convenience sex is going on.” says Twenge. “So there’s a larger proportion of people in their early 20s who are not having sex at all.”

 

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Married folks, are falling down on the job too. “The number one issue being, says couples therapist Ian Kerner, author of the book She Comes First. -is “discrepant libido and low libido and no libido.”

Twenge’s study shows that the highest drop in sexual frequency has been among married people with higher levels of education... This may be …child-centric family anxiety. “We know there’s more parenting anxiety,” says Cohen. “That could be turning into generalized family stress.”

Seems, only the 60-somethings are bucking the trend…Unlike the retirees who came before them, they’re putting the sex back in sexagenarian, with an average coital frequency that is slightly higher than in two decades earlier.

 Many couples have perfectly good reasons for not having sex: they’re exhausted, they’re unwell, they have too much else to do, or the kids are in the bed with them.

 

The trend for using beds for other activities beside sleeping and making whoopee is so robust …“We’re one of the few species that mate face to face,” says Sue Johnson, a Canadian psychotherapist and couples technique counselor: “And face to face interactions seem to be going down everywhere. We turn to technology instead of to people….”  The sex toy industry has been growing briskly and is worth about $15 billion annually. Astonishing numbers of hours of pornography are being consumed online. And VR porn is taking off… Some neuroscientists have argued that for some people, heavy porn consumption can recondition the brain’s arousal circuitry to respond more to the screen than a human.

 

Therapists have noticed the shifting dynamics in both male and female patients…” Another complicating factor is the changing conversation around consent and sexual advances, shaped by the ‘MeToo’ movement. Matt, along with other struggling sexual partners interviewed as background for this story, expresses uncertainty about where the boundaries lie. “There was always the question in my mind, am I being unreasonable?” Matt says… This adds a layer of complexity to a subject that couple are already notoriously bad at, talking about [Sex]. “I do think that conversations around consent, and what consent is, are becoming much more real,” says Lori Brotto, a Canadian  Professor at UBC in research of Women's Sexual Health. Brotto. ... “This can mean that [male]partners are initiating less [sex], that they’re sitting back and waiting for the female to initiate. And then feeling rejected when they don’t.”

 

One of the more alarming discoveries to emerge so far is the large number of women for whom sex is actually painful. “One in five young women 18 to 29 experience chronic pain during sex,” says Natalie Rosen, a psychologist and associate professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia… Rosen found that a third of women never mentioned it to their partners because they were ashamed, felt inadequate or feared being dumped. “Or they end the relationship preemptively without telling their partner why,”

 

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Gender dynamics are having an impact too. One of the oldest and sturdiest reasons for abstinence: mates are not finding each other attractive. Review that looked at sexual frequency and chore distribution found... We are interested in that which we are lacking, thus household chores should be gender specific. …Other studies found that in homes where guys pitch in more women are less stressed, less resentful and therefore... their relationship is better. A study released in April from the University of Utah found: Men who share the grocery shopping report more sexual satisfaction than men who don’t, but if they do more cleaning and laundry than their spouses, sexual frequency goes down. For women, washing up was the libido killer.

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The lead researcher, Dan Carlson, at the University, an assistant professor of family and consumer studies, found: “Homes with more traditional gender roles have sex more often because the men get to make the call as to whether there will be any knocking of boots. And homes which are really egalitarian also have more sex because the couples are communicating better...People wanting a egalitarian marriage…are happier when they can achieve one,” Carlson says. It’s the murky middle, those couples that desire gender equality but haven’t quite perfected it, who are sleeping facing the wall.

 

 

More prosaic reasons for desire discrepancy, ….the unhappy situation in which one partner wants a lot more sex than the other- .,, from genetics to upbringing to hormonal changes to sexual history to general healthiness. Higher rates of obesity, for obese men are more likely to be impotent. “There are health implications,” says Maryland’s Cohen, “and there is the social self-image, feeling attractive...”

The Galatian Suicide photo shared by William Floyd

The Galatian Suicide photo shared by William Floyd

 

Then there’s the public health epidemic: depression. “Seen in every national probability study is that depression rises to the top as a leading causes of low desire, specifically,” says Brotto. Treating depression can further hurt desire; many common medications for depression, such as SSRIs, are known to lower libido.

 

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Might people have become less happy since the turn of the millennium? Twenge thinks so. Another of her papers found that general happiness among those over 30 had dropped markedly since 2000. There could be any number of reasons for the fall, but one intriguing suggestion is that the economic trends that have shaped the current political climate may also have affected our more intimate relations. A 2011 study from the University of Virginia that analyzed GSS data between 1972 and 2008 found that Americans reported being happier in the years when income inequality was at its least fierce. Not because they were richer, the study suggested, but because times seemed fairer. Many more American workers have had to embrace erratic work schedules because of the 24/7 work economy. That makes it hard for couples to spend time together.

 

 

Economic pressure might also explain why young people have experienced the steepest falloff in sexual activity. Millennials and the generation below them, sometimes known as Gen Z, have suffered more in the great recession. Young men, especially, are finding it harder to find jobs; more than a third of 18 to 34-year-old Americans are living with their parents, an arrangement usually mutually exclusive with having a stellar sex life.

 

“I think it’s important to consider that this might not be bad.”

 

All of this, Twenge believes, may be leading to a generation of young people who are not interested in partnering up, who are moving away from pair bonding into the sexual equivalent of a gig economy. Instead of having a job or steady relationship, people have to find their own opportunities. “The theme that comes up over and over [among young people] is the increase in individualism,” says Twenge. “More focus on the self and less on social rules.” That would explain both the openness around sexuality and the drop in actual sex.

Escape into Reality by Michal Trpak

Escape into Reality by Michal Trpak

 

 

Whatever the causes, say therapists, the solutions don’t change. Couples need to figure out their sexual needs and wants, communicate them and perhaps put down their phones for a while. That doesn’t always mean having more sex. Cohen notes that the drop in the rate of sex has not been accompanied by a rise in divorce. “I could imagine a positive scenario where people communicate more and better within relationships now and the low interest partner talks the high interest partner out of it and they’re happier,” he says. “I think it’s important to consider that this might not be bad.”

 

This was the key for Matt and his wife. “Sometimes there’s still a libido mismatch,” he says of his marriage now. “And not every week or month is perfect, but my wife and I have learned to communicate better, and we’ve both learned to listen better.” Things are going so well that they recently decided the time was right to try to start a family and in October they found out they were pregnant.

 

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Conversation, it seems, is the most powerful type of foreplay. “If you want me to give my advice to the American public about this, it would be, ‘Talk to each other about sex,’” says Klein. “Talk to each other about how you want to feel. Do you want to feel attractive? Do you want to feel desired? Do you want to feel young? Do you want to feel graceful?” And then you have to decide if you’re willing to put the work in, he adds. “Gourmet sex is like gourmet cooking,” he says. “They don’t happen without focus.”

Tools For The Self Directed Life

Yearly Retrospect: How to Maintain Focus of Your Life

Focusing on Life

Focusing on Life

by Calvin Harris H. W., M.

As we are in the third quarter of 2018, and before the holidays fast forward us to the end of the year, Now may be the time to consider planning and directions for 2019. Let’s take a moment to look over events and activities to see what this past year in retrospect, has indicated to us about being on course with our strategic plans and goals.

 

For many, it was not a year with a lot of forward movement. Experiences and activities throughout the year seemed tempered with a “watch and see undercurrent”, as if to say be patient. For others,  whose ideas, creativity, political and business plans, all seemed ready to launch, yet, somehow fail to launch fully, or the trajectories where off.  

Decisions to Reflect

Decisions to Reflect

 

Looking closer at this dilemma, of the pass year’s progression, it could be an indication to slowdown and to re-align habits for normalization. Sometimes life moves at such supersonic speeds, we get so busy, that we stop thinking, become automatons in our thought s and actions. An entire year can go by without us taking a moment to think deeply about whether we are following the right course, or if we should turn off to a new direction. This slowdown could be the move needed to rethink, research, and re-calibrate who we are, where we are going, and what we want to achieve and the Habits we have in place to do it.


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A book out right now that you may want to read is called Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. Ms. Rubin indicates to us that Habits are the invisible architecture of our lives, and she provides an analytical and scientific framework from which to understand these habits--as well as change them for good


Personal and professional life compete for priority, meaning clarity of objectives and focus will be needed in finding a balance going forward. If we are looking to make a change, then slowdown, reflect on what we identify as important to achieve. Build habits aligned with what can produce that goal. The results can come later as we perfect our presentation.  As a result, what we manifest, call our outcomes, cannot be imagined, because they happen by paying attention to habits aligned with core values and then out of the blue, there is achievement.

 

Habits moving you forward

Habits moving you forward

 

Blogger James Clear reminds us “Motivation is fickle. Willpower comes and goes. Mental toughness isn’t about getting an incredible dose of inspiration or courage. It’s about building the daily habits that allow you to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions over and over and over again.”