Friday, May 27, 2011

Sword Unsheathed and a Fire in the Whole

When Tom and Lane’s house burned down, we cried and consoled each other, tore down the rest of it to the charred floor and then proceeded to build it all back up again.

At the very same point of completion as when the fire struck before, a bolt of lightening shattered the night air, burning down through the center of the giant sitka spruce a few feet from the house as if we needed to be reminded that fire could return at any time. It would seem my effort to complete this surgery to repair my urethra and ultimately my manhood must have needed a similar jolt.

That my fall from the scaffold eighteen months ago happened at all, I say, was no accident. The time had come to set aside all temptation to distract myself from writing by thinking carpentry was the way I should make a living. Since I was not strong enough to act on the choice by myself, my body—with a little divine push—made it for me.

The final clause of my divorce was the end of my health insurance on an arbitrary date that happened to land two weeks before my actual fall (the only time in my life, therefore, to be uncovered). Not to worry, they said, the COBRA act provided the chance to put a safety net under the hospital bed, a little late but totally available. Unfortunately, a bureaucratic “T” needed to be crossed which I did not discover in my mail until I was up and walking a good bit after the COBRA had relaxed its bulging neck and the period of grace had expired.

A year ago, full of a mix of hope and trepidation, I was so close to this surgery I had started the liquid diet for the anesthesia when the insurance company decided the now pre-existing condition disqualified me from coverage. With not enough time to wage a proper battle, I kicked and screamed, but limped back to my couch, having to postpone my rightful and proper restoration.

This past March, I discovered by way of a regular appointment to have the tube changed, a bureaucratic response to my failure to file a form had once again cut me off from coverage. Quickly, I rallied to repair my mistake and was able to get it restored, and when my income (or lack thereof) qualified me for Medicaid, I considered it might even have been a blessing in disguise.

However, having learned a few things along the way, in late April, I fortunately got suspicious that a state funded program from Vermont might not pay for a procedure in Massachussetts, so I made a few phone calls to investigate on my own behalf. Sure enough, it took a focused scramble and a lot of bitten nails to secure the necessary switch back to Blue Cross by the first of May.

I asked if a check was needed and she said just to wait until a bill for $60 or $120 arrived. I received a card with the effective date and presented it cheerfully at my next tube change and other pre-operative appointments without incident. As advised, I sat impotently, staring at (and wondering about) the bill for $49 that had arrived in the meantime.

A few days ago, just ten before the surgery to fix all of this waiting over the past eighteen months, I opened a letter from Blue Cross to my surgeon requesting more detailed information before they would certify the operation. Just to know if this was bureaucratic protocol or something requiring attention, I called to see if there was anything I needed to do.

Actually, the innocent woman replied, the computer indicated my coverage had terminated last February.

Six frantic calls to the state later, I learned for lack of payment, I was lucky to even still be on Medicaid, a second computer glitch they could not explain. They admitted all records proved the mistakes were theirs, but it would take days to rectify to get me continued on Medicaid at best--no chance for Blue Cross--and nothing could be done in the meantime until a check was in hand to unlock the computer, and no one was allowed to bring one directly to the office which happened to be just a few miles from my home.

At the lower levels, clerks could sympathize with my predicament, even agreeing I rightfully should be able to use the card in my pocket, but no one had (or was willing to take) the authority to actually push the keys that could make this happen.

Only me.

It took hours of passionate, empowered, fully aroused persistence to get through to the people who could make the decision. At one point, I lamented, “You’ve got to understand, I’m a fifty-seven year old man, sitting in a parking lot in tears and clutching my testicles because you’re telling me to wait means another six months or a year with a bag of pee strapped to my leg.” Over night, I lay blitzed and brainless back on my couch, staring at movies I cannot remember this morning.

Yesterday, at my insistence, human beings finally recognized it was just plain wrong to make me wait any longer for bureaucratic reasons and finally short-circuited the system, speeding me back on my way where I thought I was a month ago. The certification process that had been closed was re-opened and shortened. A case-worker has been assigned to hold my hand the rest of the way and ensure this time next week I am under anesthesia.

Where I thought all this time the injury to my groin has been to restore my sexuality, the energy to make this happen is actually around the more masculine traits of assertion, strength and determination. To be healed, I had to prove I really wanted it, to rattle my saber and fight for not only what I desire, but what I deserve.

I can orgasm whether or not the stuff ejaculates to prove it. I can have sex without love any day I might look (or pay) for it. No longer being willing to accept an unjustified “no”, demanding, instead, the resounding “YES” that should be shouted from rooftops is the lesson I have actually needed to learn.

In the best movies, the guy does not twiddle his thumbs meekly, prevaricating and posturing like Hamlet, but at the climax, marches forth with a determined expression, clear about what he wants and exactly what he is willing to do to get it. The true journey of a hero is facing the fire and rebuilding the house.

I am done with this bag and tube. Now it simply needs to be pulled out in a timely way through a lengthy surgical procedure which has a high percentage of success. I am ready, at last, to run, jump, twist and dance, to make love whole-heartedly and passionately, and to be the very best I know how to be, no matter the risk. Boldly, with pen in hand, I go forth into this life of mine, ready to put these bolts of lightening I have been given to good use.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

In the Stars

Stimulation and healing come in many forms. To take an alternative look, I gave my date of birth and time to an astrologer last week and got some interesting results.

Pluto, which moves very, very slowly, not making it even half a circle around the sun in a lifetime, seems to have an earthquake effect of influence on the various planets it encounters along the way. In my case, during the most intense days of the recovery from surgery to my groin, it will be in conjunction with Mars, a planet that is all about sexuality in particular and masculinity in general.

Any surprise there?!

Possessing absolutely no background information beyond the fact of the injury itself and its planned repair, she was immediately curious, when we met, to know what was going on in the fall of 1973 into '74 when there was a similar energetic opportunity in my life. It astounds me that without a prompt she would accurately pinpoint the only other time in my life when I have been significantly unhealthy.

In a soccer game, a hit to my lower back shifted a vertebra, causing chronic pain for months. Finally, a look at an X-ray brought the dire warning that I should avoid all contact sports for the rest of my life in fear of another jolt that could leave me paralyzed. This negative attention to my pelvic area, a wound to my sacral chakra again, took me twice to the infirmary that fall and dropped me into a deep depression.

After that Christmas, complaining of bizarre symptoms, a neurologist prepared me for exploratory brain surgery, convinced I had one of four ailments, all of which ended with death in the near future. Fortunately, my mother had just read about a new technology for scanning named after some sort of cat and got me into the University of Pennsylvania hospital where they learned it was just a pernicious variation on Mononucleosis.

Emotionally, at the time, I was in college discovering things about my manhood that a particular young woman was able to arouse in me, feelings that made my face and other parts blush, my heart pump strongly, but my mind turn over and over and over, hot and cold, depending on her proximity. The affair was so confusing because my feet each morning were still very squarely on the ground, not at all the ten feet above that I thought was the proper definition of love.

My astrologer and I discussed the possibility that this previous time in my life was a missed opportunity to fully embrace my masculinity. When considering the differences between now and then, I recognized that in the first, I was very shut down and detached from the process, too frightened and overwhelmed, barely able to find the energy to stabilize my body, much less learn what it might take to heal my wounded soul.

These many years of business and two failed marriages since seem like so many stumbles and bumbles as a result. The powerful force of Pluto behind Mars, combined now with all of this emotional study, ripens the medication to catapult me into a new and better way of being in the world.

In early 2012, my astrologer continued, Saturn will have completed its second cycle in my lifetime, a transition typically into a period of living that benefits from the wisdom and understanding gained through experience. She wondered, therefore, what of significance might have happened around my twenty-eighth or ninth year when the first cycle was nearing completion, a time of movement from youthful adventure to a more substantial adulthood.

Immediately, I remembered a month of working on a house far enough down the Coast I stayed there for days by myself between trips home, pretty much the first time to be alone since adopting my family. Being off-season and very private, I witnessed three different episodes of sex on the beach directly below me, strong and compelling evidence that other people really liked to have fun too and I might not be so strange as I feared for the ways I wanted to play. I know I behaved differently after that month.

In retrospect, however, I do not believe I fully absorbed this confidence into my heart, and every other aspect of my life, so much as act occasionally so when it is convenient. Living largely as a mealy-mouthed visionary, I have hoped for something better, but not gone “balls-out” to get there.

Believing a kinder-gentler man is possible, I patiently asked my employees for better workmanship, forgiving their sloppy mistakes instead of demanding the same accountability and integrity I expect of myself. Surrounding myself with less, I ultimately am less and receive, in return, an exact measure of what I produce.

Grateful to have someone to love in my life, I have been less concerned about being loved in return.

My work as a new warrior teaches me that assertiveness is plenty fine and definitely sexy in a man. The dominant, controlling and insensitive characteristics that sometimes come along hand-in-hand have never been appropriate and are no longer welcome. The kinder man can still be firm, however: fiercely direct and hot-blooded, standing his ground, even gaining ground, but able also to give it up when he is not right.

I have adopted a mission statement that says, “I create a world of passion, prosperity and tolerance by loving action and celebration.” The words are tacked up before me on my bulletin board, a measuring sentence for every other word I type. What goes outwards and comes back is a reflection of what goes on inside, an ever-evolving process regardless of Saturn, Pluto, Mars or the state of my urethra.

Unbalanced or walking straight and tall, I must at least be conscious.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011


At the peak of my warrior initiation, I was offered the opportunity to face the ugliest demons in my soul. Having watched other men break down and sob, I still struggled, but ultimately could not release control of myself and let the deep emotions overtake my consciousness.

The leaders teased and cajoled my tougher inner man, tried to humiliate my little boy, angered my sensitive self, but I would not bend. Even after banishment to a dunce’s corner, on the next try, I merely went through the motions of my sixth grade self, giving them a piece of what I knew they wanted me to do.

The process brought me home to begin leaving my home. It returned me to my passions of writing, music and skis, but with nearly a point of stubborn pride, I looked at the part of me that refused to let go.

This impending surgery offers a bigger and better chance. If I fail here to take the risk, explore the darkness and make the leap, I am frightened to imagine what the Universe might deliver next for me to learn my lessons. The odds of success are very high to survive and thrive after this surgery, still I feel this is a fight for my life, a fierce battle, if not against death itself, certainly for the quality of how I will live on from here.

In my I-group last night, it was easy to see how much, in spite of my wound to the groin, I am too stuck in my head. Always the story-teller, so comfortable with words, phrases and volumes of sharp analyzations, the time has come to set aside all of the intellectual processing and “simply” get more settled into my physical body, no matter how aching and full of spasms it pretends to be.

We pushed back our chairs and I began to growl. The first sounds were too wimpy and awkward for a strong man claiming to be a warrior. I sputtered and fizzled a few times with embarrassment, rocking on my toes with eyes closed to my brothers who were fully there in support.

Gradually, the growl grew into something more affirmative. My nervous chuckle punctuated the in-betweens that could have been reverential silence of mounting energy. I had to breathe, plant my feet more solidly, center my soul and open my eyes to the men still there surrounding and supporting me.

On the next push, a roar was born, feeble and fragile as a baby, but growing stronger with each breath, a roar that sounded like a lion giving warning, establishing its territory. The others joined in and I reached for the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars.

From the back of my throat, the strong belly that sings, even lower to the sacral region that needs to be healed, my roar bellowed forth with more confidence, urgent and aroused, impassioned. Anguish and frustration released full volume, shaking my body.

I gathered more breath, rocking in silence hands twitching. My groin thrust forward, pulsating with twitches of energy, shocks of twinges, building up again for more release.

The primal roar blasted outwards. My brothers urged me to go farther, deeper, get pissed that I cannot piss. They supported my anger like a foundation to a home, and then quickly let it crumble to nothing as I released the tears that cried out that this ordeal was all too much to bear.

Still, again, I stood in silence, breathing and twitching, building myself back up again. Shallow and deep together, my breath brought relief. The exhalations cleared the toxins. My heart raced to embrace the love so anxious to be expressed.

No longer do I want to wait. No more hold back. For far too long, perhaps a lifetime, I have held myself in check, twisting and contorting to be my mother’s son, my father’s man, something in between for my sisters, brothers and lovers along the way.

Love for one in particular, love for all, needs to be expressed and the final set of roars became the affirmation that I am no longer blocked, no more holding back, unwilling to accept half-hearted effort and lame excuses from myself in my life.

My love is worthy, my heart full of gold; shadows evaporate in the bright light of a man accepting his power. The roar of my rebirth erupted from my sacred chakra, an ejaculation of soul no longer ruptured, but flowing free, proud and magnificent.

“As a man among men,” I shouted, eye to eye with each man in the room, “I go forward in celebration at the top of my lungs.”

And finally, one held up a mirror and I had to face the deep and dazzling clear and tear-filled eyes of my own self, wash the sheepish shy grin like mud off my own face, and repeat the loudest of all, “As a man among men, I will come back into this body healed and in celebration, love to the fullest of my heart and at the TOP OF MY LUNGS.”

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ruminations on Sexuality Part 7: Purged

After all of these ruminations, I pause to wonder, then, what is my ideal view of sexuality. A long stillness of pen produces no set answer except to reassert it is probably as varied as the number of people walking this earth and the moods they might be in.

The important thing is that we face the demons of our morals and reconcile our various scriptures with our true desires. We must be comfortable with ourselves and our bodies, true to our natures and respectful of our partners.

Trouble comes when we restrain and repress natural urges, holding ourselves and others to some standard high or low that is not fully our own. The force of desire is formidable and nurtured falsely, twists into ugly states of mind and being. The flame in our heart must be allowed to burn freely through any precepts that might be binding us, holding us down. We must accept our individual truths and embrace our lust as a healthy expression of a passion for life.

With a partner, mutual consent is everything. The ecstatic communion of two souls for pleasure and intimacy is a wonderful purpose. Connection in a deep and heartfelt way ignites the mundane into a glittering celebration and creates a bond that holds us steady through tougher times, the life blood of our spirit aroused.

When two (or twenty) are together and in connection, anything goes. We should dance and play, expose our hearts and explore the bodies that contain them. Life is short and making love oh so sweet, vital to our health and well-being, something beautiful that invites sharing, deeper connection, if only in the moment, spontaneity and trust. Sex makes the world a better place.

After dropping my son at a dance the other night, I peeked inside for a glimpse into his world of play. Barely started, various couples were already erotically entwined so clearly in the doggie position of raw sexuality, I wondered why and how they managed or even bothered to keep their clothes in order. He confided the next morning that often clothes conveniently fall aside.

Like my own parents who witnessed only a little of my escapades, the humor that I was at first so shocked did not escape me. Dance that left nothing to the imagination when I was that age was impossible. My friends could skinny dip together in darkness, but it was all so new and daring, there was never the group snuggles on the living room couch where I see this generation so comfortable today. Such adventures into more open play was an exception of wonder, less normal behavior.

Quickly, I understood that they exhibit the comfort with their own bodies and each other that my generation revolutionized, but has been troubled to fully embrace. We were raised one way and tore up the rule book to experiment in another. We broke down major barriers, but some of us were more able to dance into the sunshine than others who were dazzled by the brightness and had to shield our eyes.

So much of my writing these days concerns the lessons about living fathers have learned to hand on to their sons, the importance of the torch passing in more conscious ways so that we can move forward with less pain and insecurity. I advocate openness and honesty, truth and acknowledgment over innuendo and denial of the obvious inadequacies and thoughtless mistakes of which we are all so obviously capable.

From a place of hope, I share my own struggle because I believe so strongly that as much as we want to do well in the world, the messages we receive at our earliest ages can affect our whole lives, unconsciously sabotaging our efforts to have a positive impact on the world around us. Living half-heartedly--not in spirit, but stunted in consciousness--clouded by scars unknown or obvious, we can inflict damage, continuing cycles that could be healed.

My father and I have learned to talk more openly and share the deepest places of life and death. He has a unique perspective being near the end of such a long and prosperous life and still faces forward. He considers his regrets and accomplishments, contemplates a wealth of adventures and the great fortune of a love for a woman that lasted many years at the center of it all. He will likely take to his grave the fact of whether or not he ever knew another woman intimately. It makes no difference (I believe) to any of us.

The promise that I create this connection sooner with my own son seems well-delivered when I see a young man standing straight and strong, taking confident steps into a world of his own, attracting young women who recognize his finest qualities. It does not stop here: our futures will be forever entwined with conversations of meaning and support that has no boundary in subject I can imagine, only in detail. We hug, shake hands, high five and slide some skin, adapting and growing together, sharing our struggles and celebrating our successes, better men for being father and son together.

In the middle of my own life, I have known women intimately for brief moments or in long marriages that needed to end, always in search of the kind of commitment, love and partnership, for better or worse, my parents seemed to exemplify. With the opportunity to play rampantly, I have paused instead, choosing to consider connection and spirit, and my body conveniently provided an excuse to feel less attractive. My heart expands with every day of the recuperation and I am so ready now to be rid of this physical metaphor of a life lived in orgasm without the ability to ejaculate.

Whether the surgery can repair my internal and rid me of the external tube or not, I am ready to go boldly forward in my life, a man among men. I am ready to dance.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ruminations on Sexuality Part 6: Self-Immolation

At the darkest times of my marriage, when I was locked out of our room and terrified all had been lost, the seductive mysteries of the new and expanding internet chat rooms caught my attention. Feeling alone and abandoned in the middle of the night, in the silence it seemed the screams of my discomfort were so much louder.

On a green and greener screen, I could type in letters of intimacy and the computer would give back reassurances in erotic phrases. Anonymous, surreal, removed from the relentless struggle for a few moments, at the computer, I could release a load of frustration without the magazines of evidence my father left behind so painful for my mother to see.

In tough times, wounded in self-esteem, I was not strong enough to face the demons and repel the taunts that lured my blood to flow selfishly instead of spiritually. I succumbed to urges that promised relief, over and over losing the battle with myself to breathe and relax. Turmoil forcing passion to be repressed, rationalizations danced seductively to make me believe I was taking care of myself, fantasy over-ruling judgment, behind closed doors, alone as I had ever been.

Not as much sex goes over the electronic waves as strokes of sympathy and affirmation. We find reminders that we are not so alone and our troubles are not so bad. As the technology decreased the separation, showing real smiles, the justifications multiplied. Desperate to feel less pain, the computer still seemed like a barrier that kept me somehow faithful.

The continuously brief distractions, however, created major harmful long-term effects. Not very good at secrets and lies, my transgressions were regularly discovered, the evidence left in a file of history just an easy click away. Deleted in one place, as if on purpose, it leaped out from another for all in the family to see. Adults and children suffered. The rages of pain carried into the neighborhood. Shame hung like a cloud that only seemed to clear into sunshine when I was alone and in front of the computer again.

No matter the reasons and intensity of the stress in work and family that made the internet accessible, my behavior became the focus of the turmoil. I educated myself on sexual addiction, bore the brunt of innumerable counseling sessions and developed a skin so thick, I could withstand the piercing arguments.

When we feel deprived of love, especially from someone we especially love, we twist and contort in the pain that seems especially cruel and undeserved. When sex is considered such a healthy expression of love, it makes sense in a distorted way that having sex in any form should feel like love. Unable to fix the problems quickly, another dark night of loneliness would be too much to bear and I would seek again the slings and arrows that had the expressions of affection I was missing so much in my reality.

Sex without spirit, sex to fill an aching void, becomes focused on the product, not the energy. The orgasm becomes the goal and if the goals at work or the hugs at home are too hard to come by, there is some small satisfaction in the quick result hard at hand.

All powerful in that instant, mercifully free of worry and fear, like a drug, I could find the minutes for that no matter how frantic was my life with no minute to spare. Surrounded by so many employees and family, I could find ways to be alone. Sexuality became pure lust, avoidance of the pain and suffering I had to face at every step.

Once I moved out of the home and down-sized my work, embraced whole-heartedly my passion for writing and music, the internet behavior vanished, evaporated in that very first night alone. Spending time with myself and enjoying healthy emotional releases, I have no need for the compulsive and elusive distraction. I have created a life from which I need no escape, never mind that it does not include love as I would like to have it. The abundance of love that does dance around me celebrates the progress I have made to become the spiritual lover I know is possible.

Falling off the scaffold two years later and delivered a severe wound to my groin, my sacred sacral chakra that is at the very core of my manhood and sexuality, has given me an eighteen month pause to wonder about all of this. When I have worked so hard to heal so much, it has astounded me that I should be thrown to the couch and commanded to sit still and contemplate my penis even more.

Ironically, the stimulation of blood flow to the region is required for the physical healing, especially important as the surgery approaches. As a daily therapy, I must focus my attention on the good feelings that lead to ecstasy, growing comfortable with myself and my sexuality, my manhood. So hard to believe the Universe could have such a sense of humor, living alone and by a doctor’s prescription, I am now allowed to pursue the pleasures of the internet with my heart free and purpose clear.

Curiously, I am not interested.

Understanding the basic concept of tantric sex as the channeling of energy between two people united in ecstasy to reach a spiritual height, in this time by myself, I have learned to focus on the energy of the process instead of the product. Orgasm is currently a little painful and ejaculation impossible, so the stimulation is most effective by prolonging the energy of the mounting effort, witnessing the falling away of thoughts into a spiral of breath and propulsion, an expansion far beyond the physical realm. With permission, time becomes irrelevant and, no longer goal-oriented, the process can last quite awhile.

Having experienced love and learned to recalibrate sexuality to be more spiritual, when they blend together, I can imagine the combination of these two energies, practiced with a like-minded soul, will turbo-charge the atmosphere into something spectacular.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Ruminations on Sexuality Part 5: Raging Fires

My mind leaps forward, grazing from meadow to pasture, field to forest as the days race towards surgery.

So difficult to sit motionless in quiet meditation, neither will my mind rest while fingers tap endlessly on raw nerves. Wishing for relief from these relentless thoughts and worries, I want to be more in my body, embraced with the physical sensation of healing, but am stuck on the phone making arrangements, securing post-surgery care and seeking a counselor who can talk me through the emotional trauma, not to mention the need to financially support myself.

The link between mind and body is so strong for me, intertwined like the very tissue, inseparable between cellular and electrical impulses. I visualize the ruptured urethra as whole again, as if the mind can make it so, while my heart physically aches with pain, burning with the effort to understand this injury so intimate and severe. For eighteen months, wrenching spasms in my testicles continually ask the emotional questions about my gaping wound that my mind would rather leave silent.

Through the process, I have been able to see how discomforted I was at the early stages of manhood to discover and celebrate the wonderful energy of rushing blood and the ecstasy it created. Quickly I learned to hide the evidence of such pleasurable arousals because I believed it was secretive, shared with a wife like my mother and father behind closed doors, not energy to be handled by some ruddy young boy. Looking forward to that, I stuffed it back down when I felt aroused and passed time snickering with my buddies even though I did not really understand their jokes.

As certain thoughts and visions, scents of particular young women tantalized my feelings, like hiding the body, I began to suffocate the mind, smothering the images with the promise that love would eventually be the sunshine that would make a blanket (or a private room) unnecessary. When a man and a woman loved each other, I believed, the behavior that was seducing me would then be beautifully appropriate.

In the meantime, as impossible as it is to control my fear of this surgery, it required more effort than I could manage to ignore the desire to explore the pleasure a little skin on skin could ignite. Slow dances and skinny dipping adventures created opportunities, but without love in the mix, my fingers fumbled and that awkwardness supported my worst fears that I was ultimately unattractive and would remain alone.

The first impressions of love made no overtures any easier because I continuously questioned the veracity of the emotion, wondering if the rush of good feeling was from heart or loin. When finally certain it was the heart enflamed and touches exquisite, in the morning I still felt overly human, not spiritually poetic and rapturously happy ever-after. My feet still touched upon the very solid ground and sometimes we did not even like each other.

There are those then and now who seem supremely confident and, like my little buddies, I fear, would scoff at my hesitations, wonder why I should be so unsure with hands that flutter in the moment they should so boldly caress. Honestly, I still fear that speaking up, exposing myself with these words, admitting I do not get the joke, will leave me lonely.

A million movies have scenes of passion with clothes ripped off and dishes shoved aside, but I wonder why I have never been so moved with such wild abandon in my own life. It all looks hotter on such screens that seem greener, but I contend the reality of love and lust is far more complicated than what we see as part of a script or on the cover of magazines. I suspect I am more normal than out of touch.

Instruction manuals and rule books are obsessively abundant. We can fill the shelves beside our bed and be no wiser, no closer to extending the sweet spot. A look at the divorce rate and the singles ads shows me the love we seek remains elusive and our fingers are willing to settle for caresses our hearts cannot long embrace.

Size both matters and makes absolutely no difference at all if we do not feel good about ourselves, both who we are and who we are with.

My experience, in truth, has been mostly with partners who pause to brush their teeth first and fear interruptions by the children, still I have learned to be a passionate lover. Daring to be vulnerable and brave enough to ask these questions, shine such a bright light into these shadows of my inexperience, I am more attractive, I trust, because I am real. My whiskers are not always shaved clean, my hair neatly combed, my wallet full. Currently I have a tube in my belly, but with my heart on a sleeve, I love with every cell the best that I can.

Youthfully, we dream and fantasize, wondering what it will be like, but in action, we have to work around the gear shift or worry the parents will hear. As adults, we have freedom and our own permission to explore as far as we are comfortable, yet ultimately count time, places and partners like so many notches. No sooner is the dream attained than scars, quirks or a better job in another city make it all go sour. Except in rare circumstances, work, children and the mortgage eventually become all consuming.

Or we just get bored.

The energy of love-making is ecstatic and profound. The spiritual connection between two souls that can happen in conjunction with the physical is spectacular. The fire burns so brightly, but requiring fuel, is so difficult to sustain.

Without connection, the luster fades...and eventually, we wither and die.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ruminations on Sexuality Part 4: Chiron's Wound

Beyond just being a nice guy, I see myself as nothing special. My music may delight others, so I offer it, but it is enough that it pleases me and some musicians who have become friends seem to like to sing along. I write because I love the feel of ink spreading across the page, so often surprised by what unfolds.

While I was sprawled on the couch in the first weeks after my scaffold collapse, I learned about the mythological character Chiron. An immortal, he developed his human nature through a compassionate encounter with a wound he could not cure, a face to face battle and ultimate embrace with something he could not control.

Accepting his condition finally, he sacrificed himself to Zeus and was transformed into a constellation so that Prometheus could be set free. The Centuar in our starry night, Chiron reminds us that our afflictions do not have to be impediments, but may, in fact, be the instruments of our good fortune. I need only to look around to find several friends who rise above conditions more adverse than mine to understand the true meaning of acceptance and reverence.

Still, this is a most unique wound to a most universally private and predominant part of our anatomy, a shame to miss the opportunity to look at…the shame that surrounds it. Chiron learned it was useless to ponder why, but was transformed through his acceptance. My injury seems too perfect a conjunction not to imagine the man who always yearned to write has at last been given his subject, so willingly I leap into the void.

Men teaching men is the only viable way to end far more than one half the cycle of shame that permeates around sexuality. No one wants to be hurtful, yet pain is inflicted nevertheless most commonly as a reaction to deeper pain, wounds conscious and otherwise so deep we despair of ever being healed. Bullishly we hack our ways forward, often in ignorance, lacking a healthy model in our formative years.

Each man, one man at a time, and all the time, can make the difference. We are all Chirons of our own sweet milky ways.

Research proves that most of our attitudes and beliefs are formed at the earliest stages. The influence of our fathers, therefore, is critical and profound, affecting the remainder of our lives and the way we teach our sons. The way we treat our women is directly related to how we saw our mothers treated whether our fathers stayed or left. Our sons will fall not far away, blown very little distance in a wind that stays so calm.

My father was an excellent provider and successful architect who was deprived of no praise nor affirmations from my mother, but stood largely distant and aloof from his children until just these final years when my mother could no longer speak in his defense or translate the arch of his brow. I have no real sense of the man beyond his biography, whether or not all of his accomplishments were as easy as he made them appear or if there was any kind of struggle for him internally.

Lacking a strong message, one looks around for confirmation and support, often landing upon his chosen peers or substitutes. I found a man my grandfather’s age who comforted my falls on skis and an artist my father’s age who talked late into the night of his struggles and joy around creation.

As young men discovering the pleasure of blood flowing with passion, we have already become red-faced, heads down in the locker room, and choose to push and shove each other in a macho dance rather than continue the exploration our pre-pubescent bodies had begun with brothers and sisters. Those mysterious creatures in the locker-room next door seem exotic and seductive, but so far out of reach, so difficult as they head inside not to stare at their uniformed blouses that become transparent in a rainstorm revealing so many wonderfully different sizes and shapes.

At dances, we feel their bodies press against us, and our own body reacts, but we have been told love must be present before the chaperone can be withdrawn, yet we still find ways to sneak away into the darkness to carefully reveal our lust. In movie theaters or the back seats of cars, in our friend’s home when the parents are away, we hesitantly reach out, half-expecting our hand to be slapped away or patiently removed at best, even if she breathes with equal heat, pushing, probing and daring to go just a little farther into that breathless state that feels so good. In attics and alleys, young men share our stories like soldiers wearing medals.

Until finally, in some less than perfect circumstance, awkward and inconclusive, those cool, slender fingers encircle the pulse of our desire and we are captivated forever. For the rest of our lives, we flirt from one to another (or wish that we could) like bees tasting pollen, yearning for wholeness and connection, yet challenged to be satisfied, no sooner spent than arousing ourselves to spend again, dancing with a partner we hope will last a lifetime and constantly sabotaging ourselves with a roving eye.

Chiron looks down from the stars with a sympathetic glow, illuminating our humanity, inspiring our commitment to be better.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ruminations on Sexuality Part 3: Shadows

The sad truth is that something that feels so wonderful as sex and connects two people in such a beautiful way is often twisted into perverted distortions that can harm a person for life. Wishing to heal and celebrate as I move toward my surgery, I first have to mourn.

Because it is vital to the continuation of life on this planet and it unites souls intimately, sex is associated with love. We want to see the act as a healthy expression of joyful caring and commitment between two lovers.

In the pursuit of that love, and because it just plain feels so good, the dance between strangers begins across the room (now adays often across the internet), a courtship of rituals designed to create safe boundaries for exploration. When attraction is strong, the dance might be short before clothes are shed and the embrace electrifies. Sometimes it takes an exquisite amount of tantalizing time and patience.

In perfect scenarios, the mutuality of courtship creates a sparkling and precious bond that makes life worth living. The dazzle of discovery and consummation—if only for a night or a lifetime—burns brightly in the heart ever after.

There are times, however, when the lust of one does not equal another and if it happens at all, the ultimate meeting is dis-jointed, awkward and uncomfortable, painful and disappointing. What seemed like perfection is tarnished by the reality of every day hardship or roses that turn out to have too many thorns.

Unfortunately, much too often, the mutual respect is not part of the agreement at all and one takes advantage of the other. This sometimes can be in the form of a woman—often described as the “weaker sex”—using her body to man-ipulate her target by the gift or withholding of her sex.

Mostly, it is a man (or men) dominant and aggressive, forcing will over seductive attraction who will have his way no matter the protest, resistance or resignation of his victim. Too many perversions have been invented by tortured souls to be worthy of description, the point being that lust, anger and frustration can combine in a perfect storm of brutish behavior that gives shame to our gender.

History has witnessed innumerable ways that power and domination have forced unspeakable transgressions on women too vulnerable with only screams to defend themselves against rape and emotional pillage. In a war lasting thousands of years, men have surrendered their honor using their tool for love as a weapon for destruction of masses.

Individually, at the hearth of a home, husbands (often under the influence of alcohol) desecrate and de-sanctify their marriages both Godly or convenient, forcing themselves upon a wife they see as property, some thing owed to them. Date rape is common and women are viewed as objects, tools to meet a man’s satisfaction. Heartless cruelties abound.

Research begins to clarify that so often these crimes stem from the residue of some childhood abuse inflicted by a tainted adult, vicious cycles passing through generations of pain. Wounds that never heal create more wounds as men mistake lust as an outlet for pain they cannot identify within themselves, finding no relief in their mindless actions and causing only more pain.

These perversions of sexuality make us all cautious, painting fear on a canvas that should be resplendent with colors of joy. A universal shame settles upon us and the subject that should be celebrated becomes taboo, something whispered about and explored behind closed doors. Beautiful feelings are judged as something to hide.

As a young boy, growing aware of my body and the pulse of blood that made my heart race and my penis expand with pleasure, standing comfortably emboldened was not appropriate. The messages came quickly and clearly to cover myself and move out of the light and into the shadows. Even as she tried to say it was natural, the tone of my mother’s voice was most definitely uncomfortable and my father was not around to speak at all.

This energy, I quickly learned, was nothing to share. If I should feel it at all, it should be in a room alone.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ruminations on Sexuality part 2: All That Matters is not Gold

Scientists have substantiated that all matter is energy. From the cells that give us life to the most inanimate of stones or metal, molecular theory proves that every single thing is made up of anatomical particles bouncing around.

This understanding transforms a world once flat into a globe of inter-connectedness: all that matters is energy.

As there is a difference in the way those particles bounce around not so randomly that determines a chicken or an egg or a hen house, so an act can be defined by the intent of the energy creating it, so much mortar holding it all together. As arbitrary (not) as atoms, the lives of people who are raised in a tract home, a third-world cardboard shelter or Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Waters might likewise be very different, but still their hearts are so full with potential gold.

Intention and circumstance shape energy into action. We all are sexual beings, but how we express our energy is as varied as the population on this planet, so many planets in a universe of galaxies.

Easily, we can identify the ideal characteristics of sexuality as being an expression of love, creation of life, a place of union and commitment. As necessary to survival of our species as food on the table, even more than clothing and shelter, the act of sex cannot be denied nor prohibited. It is as natural as birth and death.

As vital as sunshine, therefore. Yet some how, in some ways mysteriously and in others more obviously, in some cultures more and some less, in so many individuals, the sexual energy has been darkened, eclipsed by moral commandments that broadcast fear and judgments across so many landscapes of expression. My own particular culture describes a garden where innocence was corrupted and our parents were banished in shame.

Approaching surgery on my penis, I begin to see how the emotional scars around my sexuality can be traced to this very fundamental concept that the manly energy charging so much of my daily actions gets repressed, feels some how wrong, inappropriate, even shameful. My environment growing up was not at all religious, yet thinking back, the tale of Adam and Eve continuously appears as a cautionary image perfect to describe my relations with many others and most importantly myself.

The pleasure that feels like paradise will be taken from me if I fully embrace and acknowledge its beauty and wonder.

Messages can be subtle and insidious, often unconscious even to those giving them, but I consider today that we as a species, and most certainly as so many individuals, through generations, struggle to reconcile our morals with our basic urge to feel our most passionate energy. Far from a scholarly academic, with little knowledge beyond common sense, I’m just sayin’.

My intention, heading towards this surgery, is more suburban ranch than Falling Waters, yet with every word I am more impressed that the particular atom which is me is not bouncing around alone in the Universe. Occasionally, I have collided with women who have ignited my nucleus and aroused my genitals at the same time, yet we have struggled and the paradisical garden of union has remained elusive, the fire difficult to sustain. More often in these recent years of growing insight, I speak with men especially or witness others of both sexes who seem to be living out parallels stories to my own.

The more I focus inwards, the more my vision goes outwards. Our generation has made a giant leap forward, taking small steps to open communication between men and between men and their partners. Raised to be sole providers to our families and protectors in any crisis, we are learning to shed tears and bare our aching, wounded souls.

Vulnerability was not in the job description when I was born, but events in this life lead me to believe my fall off the scaffold was divinely orchestrated. My recovery may serve as a beacon to those (of either sex) who have been wounded by penises (“penii”?) less obviously than mine.

Happy day to my mother's memory.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ruminations on Sexuality part 1: In Your Pants

This week I have been a little crazy and I apologize publically to my friends and relations who have had to bear witness to my struggling mind and feeble restraint to expose what occupies my attention most right now.

If I were headed for a knee replacement, it would be easy to accept that a well-used limb has worn itself down and imagine myself running strong and straight several months from now on the bike path of life. The urgency to think about relationship and core values and getting to the very heart and soul of the matter might not be so strong.

Instead, the nature of my wound and its imminent fix or no-fix result compels me to see this as an opportunity to go as deeply as possible, using all tools available, to examine mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically what might be at the root of my chakra energy needing healing and release. Even subliminal and unconscious levels are gaining attention by alternative “therapies” that may seem to have no rational basis, but just feel intuitively right.

My groin seen as a physical manifestation of an emotional wound opens a very clear door. How can I not look inside and probe with loving intention?

So much is taboo on the subject. We veil it in terms of modesty and respect because it touches us so intimately, our vulnerability is “dangerously” exposed, yet sexuality is blatantly and subliminally present in most aspects of our lives. Every advertisement is urging us at that most basic place to buy, buy, buy, attempting to arouse our emotions over our rational and calculating selves.

Sexuality is considered a basic human need, vital to our happiness, yet so many of us blush and hide our desires, deny our human craving. We experience daily interactions flustered and awkward in our approaches and embraces because we are too shy and embarrassed to reveal ourselves and our true natures. The expanse of self-help books on store shelves demonstrates to me that behind closed doors there is an overwhelming fear of not being good enough.

Sexuality is a way to ignite and celebrate the fire within us. It is an urgency, passion, an irrepressible force that builds within us, making us feel powerful and nearly omnipotent The ecstasy is addictive. No sooner does the high subside, then we want to go there again. . It feels totally good and yet, I think, there are many who have fears that it might be bad to feel this good.

If we are able to feel beyond the sheer pleasure of it, we also know it is about fierce connections. By the very nature that the physical sensation is so intense, we easily connect with ourselves, aware of the increased breath and heart-rate, the magnificent throb and spectacular explosion of cellular fireworks. “No Brainer” is a literal description as we become one with our surging, pulsing flow of blood.

Since it feels better with another, to touch and be touched, the connection of souls, the expression of love is clearly evident and desirable, the ecstatic intimacy of sharing. In the accepted tradition of man/woman, husband/wife, procreation of the species, we are safe to practice sex, to do what moves us so primally. We start there and manage our feelings, exploring or repressing the attraction towards any deviation of that standard model which has been culturally approved as the work of God.

As we all know in our hearts and many struggle with our minds, sexuality, beyond the purpose of making babies, is an energy more than an act, creating a passion that connects us to the Universe, Godliness itself (which is why it is so threatening to some authorities and disciples). In that most powerful moment, we become One with all our partners, ourselves, the world around us, the moon, sun and stars.

All is right. All is wonderful. All is possible.

The exquisite moment of orgasm, I think we can all admit, is something so special we spend inordinate energy in the pursuit both conscious and unconscious of somehow sustaining its glory. It is unique and completely private in one sense and universal, as common and vital as blood in another. Of course, our very survival depends upon it.

In spite of all this beauty, more pain, suffering and even wars are a consequence of this urge for connection than any other cause. One could argue that the accumulation of wealth is directly related to our basic drive to be more attractive for a mate. Power, dominance, control, and fear can all be seen as attempts to overcome insecurities about being loved or not. For all of us, sexuality in healthy or twisted ways, is all about being loved.

No wonder, then as days rush toward a sharp knife being wielded to my most private of parts, I should question the nature of my wound and feel this is an opportunity to change or accept an important aspect of the way I consider myself and relate to the rest of the world. If I am too afraid to share this with whomever cares to listen, I might be too afraid to fully embrace the love that surrounds me daily and is perpetually available.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011


On my actual birthday, it is confirmed by the insurance company and the clinic that my surgery will take place June third and my total cost will be just a few thousand dollars instead of sixty. Out of the midlife comes the opportunity for rebirth.

In a state of shock after eighteen months of action and inaction, the reality beats my heart so fast. Fear of the recovery pain and final results (they only get one shot to fix this) slam somber thoughts back and forth. The enlightened vision of a smoothly flowing pee sweetens everything.

I will be at Boston’s Lahey Clinic (in Burlington, Mass actually) under the care of the doctor who developed the procedure of taking tissue from my cheek to rebuild the slender, delicate tube that is my urethra currently torn and scared. If all goes well, I should expect to be under anesthesia for ten hours and stay five days in the hospital down there before coming home.

Instead of losing my catheter, the other one will be reinserted, so waking up will feel much like the original accident only without a cast on my wrist. After two weeks, the Foley Cath will be pulled and by early July, if all has gone well, after another trip to Boston, I should be tubeless, my belly free and clear, hopefully without a second button.

They tell me not to expect to be able to do much at all in June, be prepared to move in fits and spurts as energy allows in July, and remember to take it easy in August. In all that time, I should not carry more than ten pounds which is not even my briefcase or guitar in its case.

With this vision of the summer ahead, an urgency has taken over my aspect. With a strong belief in the mind/body connection, I have to wonder if I have done the emotional work to ensure the physical healing.

At the time, I was convinced this was no accident. For thirty years, wishing I was writing, I had been racing through construction projects to finance the growth of two families. Often a struggle and rarely time to properly breathe, at my wits end to start over once again, it seemed like I just fell off to give myself a good solid rest. Comforted under warm blankets and caring hearts, I could finally let go and just be.

Compulsively focused on doing for others, I have learned to listen to my own body and take care of myself. Resting when tired, bursting forward when able, using gravity to ski behind my monkeys (not so skattered anymore) instead of leading the way, walking around the soccer field instead of running on it, my sights have been lowered, but I am far more appreciative of the beauty right in front of me.

I write and sing to my heart's content.

Some times I am able to dispel the intensity of the literal blow to my manhood with loving thoughts that the Universe provided a much needed energetic re-direction. Most of the time, the symbolism that I can orgasm but not ejaculate is just too perfect to ignore.

Root and second chakra issues seem no less clear to me than when my sacral region was so shocked, yet somehow there is a calmness, a certainty that has settled in, a resolve to pay attention to the heart most especially. Trust in myself and others in life, trust in the process unfolding strengthens a faith I had only mouthed previously, not owned and sung from the sacred belly.

Having approached this procedure once already a year ago, I see a difference in the man who then limped forward with swagger but did not fully embrace the inner healing, who whimpered about his losses and tribulations without fully taking responsibility. Perhaps still in shock, definitely in a surreal place of emotional suspension, absorbed in the physical inconvenience of the wound, the time in between has moved me beyond much of that. Closer introspection, experiments in love, and re-shaping the way I work have all strengthened my resolve and cemented my commitment to going forward.

The result is a function of my own determination. This time I am ready. Having grown to live nearly normally with a tube and bag attached, I am at last ready to be rid of both, to stand free, straight and tall, heart fully open, to live and love again, a man among men.

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