Sunday, June 21, 2009

An Experience of Surplus

Last week I was driving around Lafayette and this wave of giddiness washed over me. It was having this unfamiliar feeling although I had felt it before. It took me several minutes to pin it down, but when I did, I got chills. It was the feeling of knowing without a doubt I had everything I wanted and I could have more if I wanted any time. I was at the point of looking to see what my friends want, like what would please them and tickle them. There was no obligation or shoulds involved. It was a true space of abundance.

I was feeling full and blissful just by noticing my current circumstance – I was out shopping. Moreover, it included feeling the intention of the people I live with that I be happy and well cared for in the way that people would come to our room and ask us if there was anything we wanted.

When you get to the point that your next desire, your next impulse is truly for someone else to feel what you feel, to have whatever it is that they want, to be tickled to get a pair of speakers or socks, to have their feet rubbed or a have a cup of chai; it’s completely gratifying. To truly be in a state of surplus and recognize it is the highest level of havingness I have ever experienced.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Perfection in the Context of Group Living

Perfection, the idea that we are all right, beings, has been on my mind lately. It is the cornerstone of the Morehouse philosophy. There is a private course anyone can take in which teachers from Lafayette Morehouse argue for your perfection while you spew all the reasons you have stashed in your head about why you are not perfect all the time, or before . . . or back when . . . or if . . . . It’s called a Presentation. I’ve had this course. I proudly wear the pendant you get when you complete the course around my neck.

Lately what I have been contemplating is other people’s perfection. As House mother, I have a great excuse to hold the most loving view point in the house. To me this means remembering that everyone in the house is perfect and right the way that they are, including me. If someone in our house does something offensive, like not keeping their agreements they’ve made with their housemates, the knee-jerk response would be to think that person is wrong and bad person for not considering the impact of their actions on their fellow housemates. There are other alternatives.

It seems an important element of the concept of perfection is that we are not our actions. Perfect people do and say things that are not in agreement with their stated goals or earlier agreements. I have observed that everyone I live with is basically employing their best strategy for navigating any given situation in any given moment. They are doing or saying what has worked for them in the past. If the strategy didn’t work for them on some level, they wouldn’t use it. If I find their strategy offensive, hurtful, or silly; it doesn’t mean something is wrong with them. They are perfectly reasonable people doing what seems to them to be their best move at the time.

If I have them has being a right person, I have more options for responses available to me. For instance, I could get curious. Why would my friend choose that behavior which appears to be in opposition to their stated goal of wanting to be closer to the people in the house? Maybe I could have a sense of humor about it and tease them, “You little rebel you.” I could also consider their behavior a cry for help.

Moreover, these other responses take me off the hook of being angry or upset. These are emotional responses that I have chosen to a set of actions. I could choose an emotional response that feels good to me. In some circumstances, it’s really hard to choose a response other than the one that is familiar to me. I go unconscious and find myself heading down a road in which dark clouds are forming and my friend is an asshole. In those cases, I have found it helpful to start with finding myself right, the situation is perfect because I created it. From there, I can create it differently, maybe choose another response based on the fact that I and my friend are perfect and right. Perfection includes the potential for change. Perhaps we can conspire and find a more pleasurable direction to go.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How I Came to Morehouse aka How I Met Vic

In 2001, I was at the top of my career game in corporate human resources, single, and living in Marin, CA. Like a lot of people in Marin, I was on a sensual quest and researching being in a conscious relationship. A friend who was staying with me on her way to HI observed the men I was dating and told me that I needed to go to a Mark group. That was the only place to get a “trained guy”, she said, someone who knew how to please a woman on several levels.

I went to my first Mark group at Curt and Ruth’s home just after the New Year. It was all very civilized, except for this guy Tom, who would ask the most outrageous questions. I was terrified and intrigued all at once. In March in Lafayette, I took my first Basic Sensuality course with Jack, Ilana, and Kassy. I loved it, especially the communal living information. I was always interested in communal living and had failed in previous attempts. I thought these people seemed to really have it down in such a way that they are actually having fun. These people really know how to live, really live, is what occurred to me. I wanted to know everything, and I definitely wanted to meet this Vic guy that everyone was talking about.

To this day, what impressed me the most was how the community responded to the desire of a woman, to give her everything she wanted and more, in this case it was me. They delivered courses and experiences as fast as I could consume them. In one memorable week in May, I took three 2-day courses. People would say, “You’re going so fast!”, which occasionally caused me to second-guess myself, but then I would remember my goal, which was to meet Vic.

In July, just after my 39th birthday, I finally got to the center of the tornado I had made of my life. For four days, I sat with Vic and Cindy and the gang, and had the ride of my life, which was so small looking back at it from my current vantage point. I went up and down and up again so fast; they actually had to bring in a bucket for me to vomit into. So many things I remember . . .. What really blew my mind was how exposed I felt. Vic was speaking the thoughts I had not even dared to utter to myself. One of them was that what I really wanted was a man who could fill me up with everything I wanted, happily, and be man enough not to take all that silly bullshit I liked to dish out. “YES! That, I want that! How do I get one of those?!” I exclaimed. I can see him like it was yesterday, taking a drag off his cigarette and telling me to go stand at the exit door of the “man-factory” aka Lafayette Morehouse.

And that’s precisely what I did . . .. and that’s another story. . ..

Thank you, Vic. Because of you I have more real love than I ever imagined I would have, and I’m living, really living at the Oakland Morehouse.

Monday, June 15, 2009

An Introduction

Becoming the Housemother of the Oakland Morehouse with my partner George has changed the way I look at group living. Over the years, I have played from many different spots: from newbie to out to in to supporter to control-problem to non-confronter. I’ve enjoyed them all. Each spot offers a different vantage point from which to see yourself and others. Certainly, it’s true you can win from any spot.

Now I find myself in the leader spot. This is the most expansive vantage point I’ve had yet. I suspect you can have this expansive view in a couple of the other spots as well, I just never chose to go there until now.

In this blog, I will be exploring various aspects of group or communal living as they come up for me in my life here in the Oakland Morehouse. Specifically, I will be looking at the application of the More philosophy in the context of being a student and a house member in a very unique experimental community.