I did it.
“What did you do?” you ask.
Why, I completed a 30-day woman fast, of course. Where’ve you been?
“Yeah .. seriously .. what in Eve’s name does that even mean?” you respond, completely perplexed.
Ahhhh … a fair and cleverly articulated question.
As I’ve assured you before – and perhaps this lady doth protest too much – it wasn’t just about sex.
Although I confess, the lizard-brain part of me wishes I WAS having so much sex that a 30-day breather would be refreshing. But I routinely go well over 30 days without sex.
Actually, these 30 days were simply a mindful practice, more than anything else. Previously, in the presence of women I felt attracted to, I had been seeing myself routinely act from an icky place of need and lack, hoping their attentions and affections might soothe an aching loneliness that sometimes creeps through me like a dank, foreboding chill. But rather than any soothing goin’ on, I only felt emptier.
I wanted to spend time getting deeply aware of all that arises in my thoughts and in my body in the presence of women … without indulging in any actions, at all.
I just wanted a clean break from trying to get any attention from women. As I wrote in my first blog, I was done feeling ridiculous and exhausted from tying my worth as a man to the validation of a woman.
Now, mind you, I didn’t design these 30 days to go all crazy fascist on myself. I have 3 sisters and 2 mothers and a dazzling array of beautiful, brilliant, deliciously feminine friends. I didn’t even attempt to cut off my interactions or emotional connections with anyone. That just struck me as harsh and overly-indulgent.
The ego can hijack any worthy project for its own fascist agenda.
“Just because a man has an erection doesn’t mean he has to do anything with it.”
~ Byron Katie ~
This time was about noticing where every one of my erections was coming from … so to speak. It was about not doing anything with those erections – not even making them go away. Just noticing them. Sometimes literally … “Oh! hey there! … We’re supposed to be sleeping!! What’s up?”
I did reset the 30-day clock once, 7 days in, because I leapt so far over the boundaries that I knew I was in complete violation of my pledge.
Otherwise, I was quite willing to shimmy myself right up to the feet of enchanting temptation, look her deeply in the eyes, and then just breathe, softly, calmly, and witness the wild world inside me stir and moan and ache with all variety of impassioned desire.
At times I felt deeply the hungry loin-clothed hunter within me, arrowed spear raised and cocked back tight in his muscly grip, trembling and agonized, salivating and sweaty, poised ready to pierce the succulent prey lurking innocently in the cross-hairs of my tunnel-vision sight.
But I also felt the scared, innocent little boy, the one afraid of being left all alone in this giant universe, who only wants someone to love and hold him.
I felt everything.
During Week 1, I was just kinda nervous and uncertain. In fact, I had to live this week twice. During Week 2, I felt a little more confident as I started to deepen in my commitment to the experience. During Week 3, I was as sexually exuberant and loin-happy as a 6-month old puppy. You may recall my “50 Shades of Bryan” blog post from that week or my hilarious facebook rants about how “I want to fuck every hot chick I see and it feels great that I don’t have to do anything about it.” During Week 4, I was in the groove. I started feeling really powerful and calm, standing strong in my world, not allowing myself to be pulled this way and that by petty, uneasy urges. The end was near and I knew I’d make it. Curiously, I met an interesting woman that week, but there was no way I was going to reset the clock.
Anyway, this was about progress on the journey, not perfection.
I still had fun, even with attractive women. I just didn’t cross any sexual or needy attention boundaries. I held the essential line for 30 days.
I do not encourage anyone to ever deny themselves of experiencing their genuine feelings, of joy or laughter, even sensual pleasure. I simply think it critical to notice more deeply where we try to fill our experience of painful emptiness with just any ol’ content. To notice where we use things outside ourselves to distract from loneliness, despair, confusion, and sadness.
If we don’t get awareness around this when we’re alone, then we’ll only burden our future lovers with the frustrating – and impossible – job of filling us up. That never turns out well.
Notice, how often do you show up and give the world your fullness, instead of taking for your emptiness?
How often do you simply offer the world your joy, instead of blaming it for your despair?
How often do you share your abundance with others, rather than demanding they address your lack?
Do you think how you show up – whether from fullness or emptiness, joy or despair, abundance or lack – makes a difference in your everyday experience?
Abso-frickin-lutely!!! You know it does!
When we act from our abundance, our already complete-ness, we make rich, nurturing, kind decisions for ourselves and thus everyone around us. When we show up in fear, believing in lack or unworthiness, we make bizarre decisions that ironically push what we truly want, farther away.
One other interesting thing to note: This fast also proved powerful in separating out my “99% attractions” from my “1% attractions”. In other words … Discernment. With a Capital “D”.
Lack of Discernment – checking in with my inner knowing and responding from there – is responsible for essentially ALL of my wild misadventures. Wouldn’t trade ‘em for anything, but Discernment is a wondrous thing.
I’m very aware that I experience no internal drive to build meaningful romantic, intimate relationships with over 99% of the women whose femininity attracts me. I would say that less than 1% of my attractions make it through even the first filter of possibility. Perhaps I’m too picky, I don’t know, but that’s how it occurs for me.
When I’m distracted by the 99% – which, when not practicing discernment, I am – how likely do you think I am to even notice the 1%? Or that they will even notice me?
These 30 days were emotional at times. I made peace with the thoughts in my brain that insist I could be alone for the rest of my life; that my greatest days and relationships are behind me, and that I’m not likely to ever have a truly magical relationship with a woman. These thoughts are crazy, but they occur regularly in my head.
Rather than fight them, respond to them, or simply let them distract me, I can just notice them and keep going on about my day. It’s pretty awesome, actually.
Anyway, it’s Day 31. I don’t actually feel any different from Day 30. I do feel very different from Day 1. Confident. Peaceful. Focused. Ready to make my way in the world. Ready to flirt and play with a woman when it arises effortlessly to do so, and to easily move on when it doesn’t.
It’s really that simple.
For all my intricate reflections and boundary games and self-inquiry, it comes down to the timeless wisdom captured so succinctly by that classic children’s TV program they actually showed in public schools back in the 70s and 80s:
“I just want to be free … to be me.”