Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Just live… Quest for Happiness

I am currently reading an interesting book which poses a debate between Freud, and CS Lewis about various subjects stemming from their opposing views on theology, called “The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex and the Meaning of Life” by Armand M. Nicholi.  It’s interesting to read on how our views on religion seem to affect how we view happiness as well.  As I wrote about in my previous post, Just Live, the idea of living for yourself and being the beacon of your own happiness is instrumental.  It was really interesting to read about two intelligent individuals in our recent history having this posed debate.  I know that I will look back on my lifetime, especially in the last few years and be proud of the actions I took which resulted in attaining my current happiness level.  I will not have to include anyone else in attribute of that achievement.  This is what drives me to get up every morning, responsibility and complete control of my own self fulfillment. 

Of course we are all individuals and what works for me will not necessarily work for the next man down or even what worked for me in the past.  I have mentioned my previous believe in God and I will admit that I did find a comfort in achieving a lifestyle for him.  I worked diligently to try and follow the teachings of the bible and put my trust in a higher and seemingly more educated power.  The entity that knew inherently what was right and wrong.  In my early teenage years this was a guiding light in a very chaotic time for me.  Slowly though I discovered something about myself, and that was I felt the same sense of well being when I began to internalize my prayers.  When I started putting faith in myself and what I could and couldn’t accomplish I felt a real wholeness, and a more complete me. 

I very slowly recognized that I was blaming God for my shortcomings and praising myself for my achievements.  When this became apparent I realized that it had to be all or nothing, rationally I needed to accept God in my corner for good and bad as a Christian.  And selfishly I realized that I couldn’t do this.  I was the one living, and making choices, so I needed to accept the good and bad in me.  I could not use an alternate force in times of trouble.  I realized that, I was a strong individual and could attain peace and comfort in my own actions.  I didn’t need the navigational principles of religious teachings to be a good and sound human, it was inside me.  And further I grew to believe that our human race would not have evolved to where it is today if this basic and fundamental rational human being did not exist in almost all of us.  Of course there are always exceptions and variations which allow for cruelty and disgusting examples of humans and their behaviour, as evidenced by many of the genocides and corruption in our world.  This is an evolutionary variant and I do not attribute to any faith or lack of faith meme.

This is my journey of my self-discovery, and why I confidently say that I am the source of my own happiness.  When life is stressful or I am in the pitfall of an emotional roller coaster, it is up to me to attain happiness.  It is my choice to stay in a level of poor me, or to find a way to get out of it.  I have chosen to seek professional help when I was not able to get out of a depressed state on my own.  So I will always recognize that there are situations that we are not always able to find solutions to ourselves.  Be it a simple girls night for emotional team building, or therapy and possibly anti-depressants or mood stabilizers with a doctors strict care.

I have a very brave friend who recently posted on facebook a status regarding making mental health as open as physical health.  I couldn’t agree more, as it is with acknowledgement and openness that we are able to fix the symptoms and provide treatment versus putting our health and welfare into invisible beings and faith only. Happiness is attainable, and more than that, it should not be an end goal or a prize for life’s hard work and achievements.  Happiness should be a daily and even hourly reflection of all that we do in life.  A smile every day is the simplest thing we can do.  It’s your life, so live the best way you can, find the happiness inside and out.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Male and Female Reproductive Goals AKA Their Boxes

In primates, survival of the species depends on the female having access to food and the males having access to females. In other words, a male chasing tail is the only way to ensure that he will be able to procreate. Whereas the females chase nutrition in order to not only to survive but to give nutrients to their offspring as the “tail” comes right to them. Now enter humans with our cognitive ability, those pesky emotions, complex thought processes and interpretive skills. The natural order of things in Canada and the USA has females making up 51% of the population, giving the males plenty to choose from.

Let us consider the mountain gorillas for a moment as a case study in regards to their mating effectiveness. The males have an opportunity of creating 0 – 35 offspring in their lifespan, whereas females have the potential of a 5-8 offspring range. Males can mate and walk away, but for females, reproducing takes a huge toll on the body and energy levels. So the goal of the male universally is to mate as often as possible and for females it’s more or less quality over quantity to ensure overall survival. It’s interesting to note here too that the females are the concerned one when it comes to incestual mating and of little or no concern to the male. Food for thought! Thus our society evolved and developed social norms and constraints to aid in the evolutionary balance. Thereby trying to prevent men from running amuck, also giving females support financially and socially. 

There is a really interesting society that I am linking here, where it seems the development was geared more towards a natural evolution versus an intellectual evolution. And by that I mean the females have support of family to raise their children, thus they evolved with a lot more parallels to primate social and mating systems than typical other societies found around the world, article here. It is an incredible read and challenges the brain to imagine a completely out of the box way of looking at our system for rearing children. And that is really what it is all about isn’t it? Trying to look outside the box of social systems that many of us don’t even feel like we are in? Well until that box gets wet and we need to find a way to dry it or move. Charming little visual eh? So do you want to stay in your box or explore the possibilities of different shapes, and sizes? Perhaps even create a box all of your own?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Shhh... It's a secret! My X-Mas Gift Advice

X-mas is right around the corner, and thus may I present a little relationship blog on gift giving.  I was trying hard not to listen to the ladies seated in front of me on a recent flight, but of course my curiosity got the best of me when their volume rose.  The two ladies were in their late 30's and both wore very nice looking wedding bands.  So clearly they must have a few relationship tips if they are already married right?  Well sadly they were not bragging about how amazing their sex life was or anything remotely positive in the marriage world.  Instead they were bitching about the recent gifts their husbands had purchased.

Here's my little recap.  Blond lady received a lavish necklace, but is too embarrassed to wear it.  It's much to ornate and doesn't go with her day to day image.  Brunette lady recently received a bath spa kit she swears she saw at Costco.  Therefor Brunettes husband bought her a last minute gift and Blond's husband doesn't really know her tastes after all these years.  Then the usual "there, there, it's the thought that counts".  And the sobbing, "but why does he think I'm so superficial that the cost would be more than the thought?".  Did I mention I was on my way to Vegas and was listening to a lady cry about a gorgeous necklace?

I cannot possibly say that I am above this conversation and that I have not had it in my early dating years.  I am sure that I did, but I spent a lot of effort ensuring that once I was made aware this behavior ended.  And I will tell you why. There are many ways to look at a relationship.  I try to be as realistic and level headed as I can be.  This is how I look at the gift giving side to my relationships, you must make a choice based on your own values.

If being surprised is the most important thing to you on X-mas morning then you get to deal with the reality that the opening and anticipation is you favorite part of the gift.  And when you open the package you may or may not get a bonus.  If on the other hand you really value the gift inside, then please for the love of all my sanity just tell the person what you want!  Give them a list to pick from or tell them in an active conversation what you would like this year as a present.  He is not a mind reader and no he has not been listening for the last 6 months for the little hints like you have.  Woman pay attention to a different sort of detail than men do, and this gives us many advantages I think in a long term relationship.  This is a strength of woman, and less so of the average male.

To segway into one of my favorite topics, which of course is sex, there are many parallels with this advice.  If you love surprises and want the ball in his court, then lie back and enjoy him taking control.  But if on the other hand there is something that you want to try, or more of, then he needs to be told.  The man is not going to listen carefully for the changes in your moaning to determine what move he makes next.  Have the conversation and take charge of your happiness and improving your own life.  Do not put it in your partners hands and then bitch to your friends that there is something missing.

What says more about your relationship?  That you can communicate and add to each others happiness or the lamenting that he is not the mind reader you want him to be?  And if you are one of the women all about the thrill of surprise, please brag about the surprise itself.  As we all know sometimes whats inside isn't what we expected, so realize this and remember what's really important to you.  You can enjoy the surprise or the gift inside.  Either way put yourself in a position to find your happiness either way.  Life's short, so enjoy.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Ladies Night

I'm going to keep this post nice and short.  I hope I am not the only one who has had a conversation with her boyfriend that just bores him to tears?  Well I have, and what's more I have a boyfriend who will call me out on it.  Which is for the most part a good thing.  If I hear this more than once or twice in a few week span, then I know it is time for a girls night out.  It seems really simple, but for some reason this took me a long time to really figure out.

I was taught that the man in your life is your best friend and you should be able to share anything and everything with.  This is how I have historically approached every relationship.  With this notion that whatever is going on in my little coconut then my partner wants to hear.  Reality check!  He doesn't.  Low and behold there was a solution and that solution is a girls night out.  There is something so amazingly stabilizing about having an evening out with the ladies.  Having the opportunity to chat in chick speak and get some emotions off your chest.  And the same holds true for the opposite sex.  Having a guys night, drinking beers, shooting the shit, it's cathartic and feels oh so great.

So as I pack to go to Las Vegas for a few days, I leave you with this.  If you see the eyes rolling in your partner after you have prattled on for a few minutes, recognize what this means.  Call up the ladies, get dressed up and go for a evening out.  Oh and tell your man exactly what you're up to.  Let him know that it's not his job to hear the latest gossip or about your woman problems.  But rather that you will come home with some fabulous stories about how you were told he was the luckiest man on earth to have such an amazing woman.  Quality time with your man beats quantity any day.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Childhood Games Defining Our Current Relationship Filter

The dynamic between each couple is unique.  One partner may be dominant for a percentage of the time and the other the remaining.  We all know that couple where the woman wears the pants and has the guy by the short and curlys.  Or the abusive relationship, where the woman is uncomfortably submissive.  It’s a pleasure each day to be able to observe the differences and similarities in the interactions of people.  Online can be a skewed window, whereas watching in person people interact there are so many lessons to be learned.  I have often found myself stating that I never want to be that woman, or I would never treat my man like that especially in public.  There is a skillset that is learned from early on for interacting with people, and choosing who we have relationships with.  We have learned the ability to quickly filter and sort through millions of people in our lifetime and arguably keep about 150 on a more than just an acquaintance level.

To learn the basics we as children are socialized with other children.  So much of preschool and kindergarten is guided sharing, and playing nice, societal moulding.  As we progress to recess the boundaries get pushed further to higher energy games of tag, and red rover.  I recently had a conversation about the pros and cons of banning the aforementioned games in the school yard.  We both remember the how dangerous the games could be, but ultimately felt that these social connections learned from these simple games far outweighed the consequences.  For example, take Red Rover, you have two rows of people facing each other with hands held.  If the kid from team A runs and breaks through the arms of two kids on team B they get to take a player back to their team A.  If they don’t break through then they become part of team B.  In a very short amount of time the team has to reach a consensus and strategize the person they would like to run towards them into their arms.  There are many variations, do you want the really weak kid who won’t break through but is then a weak link on your team or do you risk the strongest player on their team not being able to break through and thereby strengthening your own team.  The other team has a choice too, they can decide which pair of people to try and run through there by trying to secure their own stronghold in dominance. 

This is a very simplified explanation, but a few really interesting things to consider.  The speed with which kids are able to make these decisions is amazing.  Kids are able to make judgements in a very short amount of time and work together as a team for a common goal.  Not only are these very snap decisions, but looking back I very rarely remember a time where one team absolutely dominated the other team consistently.  The original teams are picked with two captains who alternate their picks in a very democratic process.  Almost always the teams started fair and ended with a similar outcome.  Now imagine not having the opportunity to learn these skills at such a young age.  Imagine walking into a room without these basics and trying to pick out the person of most value to network with.  This is the new reality we are walking into, where kids are no longer allowed to play these very important socialization games on the playground, and thus when they grow up these skills will take much longer to learn. 

I am very curious to watch the power struggles of this next generation and to see where our society will take us by opting for the safety of our children over making them sound and whole human beings.  There is a price to pay for every decision, but I wonder what this will be on making those connections with a possible spouse.  Just a little blog hopefully to get you thinking about what has defined the social skills you have today and how you may have learned to filter those around you in such a necessary way.

Friday, 4 November 2011

How To Stay Seductive in the Long Term

I blogged a wee bit about flirting for the newly out of a relationship, here.  For a relationship to have happiness in the long term things are a little different.  One aspect that I constantly see left behind is the seduction. Seduction is not just for landing yourself a mate. Seduction can be the glue that keeps your relationship exciting for the long haul. If the basics for the relationship are there, then putting in the effort to keep things exciting should be an exciting venture. 

It’s a myth that seduction always has to be about lighting candles, chocolate and sex. Actually in my experience the instability of a few lows mixed in with the highs works extremely well. There are times that the emotional bonds forged, when tears are shed really goes so much deeper than just constantly being sexy. Humans have a wide range of emotions, so with a bit of skill you can take your partner on an emotional roller coaster. There is a part of me that hesitates to write that last statement so I will do a little clarification. I am writing this blog on the basis that you have a firm foundation and have been together for quite a while. In the first 6 months or so, using any of these techniques may allow for the crazy or unstable persona, and these things can occur quite naturally. 

You know your partner, and you have built up the trust enough to know how far you may push him/her. So now is time for the fun part of being in a long term relationship. Here are a few not so secrets that have worked in my relationships. And hopefully you recognize that subconsciously you have been doing this all along, but now you can bring it to a conscious level with a bit more control and technique.

Firstly it’s really important that you break up your routines every once and a while. Nothing spells stagnant or unsexy like the same old thing night after night, even if you both really enjoy routine. If you have schedules that you must keep week in and out, find time to break the pattern every so often. If you both love movie night, switch it up by getting dressed up and seeing a live play or performance or any variance on the day in day out. Have your coffee in bed rather than at the kitchen table, just be creative.  This occurred naturally when you first met and had to mesh each others schedules and fit time for the other.  So re-enact that from time to time.

The next thing is to have a dynamic relationship. Being happy and having fun day in and day out can get boring. A little drama can go a long way, and make up sex is beyond exciting. Have you ever tried stirring the pot just a little bit, but for a positive result? Something really simple to get you started, have a little water fight, or tickle each other. There is no malice intent, just creating a dynamic playing field where you are able to cycle through a range of emotions together. Just writing this I am able to clearly see all these events that naturally took place in the “honeymoon” phase of my relationships. And it takes skill and knowledge to re create these events for the future and keep that new love feeling going strong.  How funny that these things don’t seem like you are seducing at all hence why seduction is so much more than physical.

Be thoughtful and spontaneous. Leave a note on his pillow, or when you grocery shop pick up their favourite treat. Just anything little that elicits an unconscious smile. Don’t forget body contact. Think back on the days when you first met and couldn’t keep your hands off of each other. Give a scalp massage while watching your favourite show, or a quick spank when cooking dinner. All these things you have done in the past, but with life moving forward so quickly these actions become rare. 

Put some thought into your favourite memories of the time spent together in the first few weeks, and draw from those experiences your inspiration for a conscious seduction. Its amazing how intuitive these actions can be when the hormones are flowing and there is the element of new. For a long term success you will be able to keep things on this dynamic plane and keep the new alive.  These are just a few of the techniques that have worked for me.  Try a few, and please feel free as always to offer some suggestions :)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Pro.... Choice?

I had started working on a blog today which was happy and a totally different direction from my every week writing, then a walked through a Pro Life display and I changed my mind.  I frequently discuss how my writing is not meant to influence anyone's choices.  I selfishly hope that at least one blog rings true for one person, and that I am not necessarily alone in my views.  But here I sit knowing that I cannot stay mute on this topic that has me now so emotionally charged.

When I was in grade 7 at a catholic junior high, one of my teachers was discussing viewpoints in our health class.  He told us a story about his wife and her best friend.  The two women were incredibly close, but had learned over the years that they had morally different viewpoints regarding pro life and pro choice.  They were on such opposite sides of the fence that neither woman could ever bring this subject up or the friendship of many years would be over.  Looking back at that story I am number one, amazed that our catholic teacher didn't get in trouble for telling it.  And number two, shocked by what an impact this subject has on people, myself included.

As far as I can tell there seems to be 4 viewpoints out there in regards to a woman finding out she is pregnant.
1)Keep it
2)Give it up for adoption
3)Terminate the pregnancy
4)Leave the decision in "God's" hands (yes I can hear the moral outcry for this one)

I am calling a spade a spade here and I am not pulling any punches.  I am outraged by any community/group and or organization feeling that they have any right to sway a woman's decision.  What's worse is to make a woman feel any shame or guilt about such a personal subject.  Too many doctors have been harassed and even murdered by these people that I am sickened to the core.  I know that I may be losing a whole bunch of readers by posting this blog, as I am already losing a few people on facebook for my comments.

Here's the way I see it.  The decisions when you are surprised by a pregnancy are hard.  It is an emotional roller coaster and something that you live with for the rest of your life.  Plus you have all these hormones to deal with too.  I believe that every woman should be given a list of her 3 options, no number 4 is not valid, it is just a great way to pass the buck!  When presented with these 3 options, she should be given contact information to research or talk to a representative for all three choices.  Give her a few days to decide and weigh out her own personal lifestyle and make a decision that she is the most OK with.  Individuals will make the correct decision for their own person if provided with facts and opportunity to do any additional research and ask as many questions as they need to. 

I am pro choice because they provide these options.  If family doctors throughout the country were responsible enough to provide this clear information to all of their patients in an unbiased way, well the world would have a little less judgement in it.  I am still in shock about how emotionally charged up I felt walking through those displays.  They are put up to initiate a response, and open the door to spew their viewpoints into willing and unwilling passersby.  I feel that this is not a responsible method for distributing their views.  Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment below as I know that communication and education is key in dealing with these situations.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

How Can I Say I’m in Love?

I was presented with a bit of a challenge while I was discussing my blog with a friend recently.  He asked me if I was in love, and I said yes.  He gave me a really skeptical look at my response and said that if I was in love then my partner would be the only man I would want and vice versa.  Further he went on to say that we live in a society in which we pay taxes and follow the natural order.  There are rules and guidelines that we must abide by in order to live in this society.  I am paraphrasing a bit here as there was a large quantity of booze during this interlude.  Suffice to say though; I completely understand where he is coming from.  I have family who have stated quite clearly that I must be missing out by choosing a man who doesn’t put me on a pedal stool.  That I am somehow settling by being with someone who may stray from time to time.
This is a very hard viewpoint to argue against, so I will only make a few little points or examples that are not to be taken as persuasive.  But more or less illustrate that I am living my life with eyes wide open and there are many benefits to my level of thinking.  I have previously provided the dictionary definition of love, but for kicks here is the urban dictionary definition.  Which of course the first one make me giggle.  I read through about 5, and the answers submitted are so varied it can really makes me wonder why that is.  As a society we cannot cohesively agree on what love is.  Yet we can very quickly judge someone else and tell them that they are not in fact in a loving relationship because they are missing x,y, and/or z.  This sort of hypocrisy is fully accepted in our society, as a judgmental being that has the rights to tell us who and how to love.
That being said, I still talk about myself being in love.  My point of reference for this is that I am truly happy and generally in a great mood and my life is moving in a positive way.  Also when I say I love you to my partner it feels great and hearing it does the same, very simple and honest.  I try very hard to take preconceived notions out of my life and that includes others definitions of love.  I live to make myself happy and when someone is making themselves happy alongside me, there is an opportunity for an amazing journey.
The next little point is one that I have blogged specifically, a man's nature, which in discussion with quite a few of the male variety they agree with.  Well I should clarify, they admit to agreement on the preface that they are not married.  If married then the rules change, to complete and utter monogamy… But prior then yes men have a tendency to stray.  When they cheat in marriage it’s a “one time” thing and will never ever happen again… until the next time.  Ok so I am being a little sarcastic in my tone, not out of anger, but more or less I get frustrated with the lack of honesty.  But this brings me to my conclusion which is living in a relationship where my partner knows who he is.  This does not mean that he loves me any less than any man out there, or any more.  Just that I won’t make him come crawling home begging for forgiveness and promising that it will never happen again.  I won’t emasculate him for being himself.  For me the true test of a relationship is honesty, and this includes being honest with yourself first and foremost.