Every moment we live is a teachable; learnable one. We see what we want to see and whatever our hearts make us feel. Each day these moments,if we choose to see them, give us a chance to learn something new about ourselves and hopefully start a new habit of doing and thinking about things we feel and do each day.
Today I'm relearning the virtue of patience. It's easier to sit with someone and their pain whatever that is than it is to sit with your own. Because when I sit with my hurt I'm playing judge and jury all at once. I'm not lovingly comforting myself in that moment.
But today I practiced cuddling myself through excruciating pain in my shoulder from a rotator cuff injury. Through the pain of lifting and manovering my arm i am forcing myself to sit with my own emotions. To watch and understand them rather than judging and sentencing them. I'm still learning. Because I'm no quitter: not of anything in my life.
Tonight I am learning what it means to belong. That to belong is about doing. I have never felt acceptable to nor by anyone including my own family. Ever.
But by serving others and giving of my time, my ear and my effort I feel a sense of purpose among a team of professionals who appreciate smart, hard diligent work. That's where I feel accepted. When I'm doing with others or for others depending on the context.
That's one of my lessons so far for this Sunday morning. I belong by doing and adding value to a community. Whatever community that is. If I'm not adding any value then I'm a worthless bundle of organelles in an incompetent, useless cell of a human body.
I accept you as you are, regardless of if you believe you are adding value through contributors here or not. You are a good person.
@MrPaul I treasure your heartfelt comments. Because I sense that it's coming from a sincere place. You've been very kind to me and I so do appreciate. Words are not enough to express my gratitude to you for your thoughtful sincere kindness.
And so with the power and inspiration that the universe fills in me I send up oodles of tight hugs and heartfelt smiles to you.
And when I speak of adding value to a community I mean sharing a piece of my unique self for others to be inspired by and lifted up on. I want to say and do the things that brighten someone's face and space. Whether they acknowledge it or not. Because that's how you build connections with others. Useful meaningful connections that are based on trust and understanding and mutual respect.
Insanity shares a wide spectrum of qualities with love and hate. They operate fluidly on opposite ends of the spectrum as each take on qualities of instability depending on the lens through which one looks.
It's a very dangerous practice to assign attributes of emotional or mental imbalance and instability to another especially if one is only reading another from the perspective of one's subjective interaction or experience with another.
Often one does not know or understand the contexts in which another has lived, that have shaped and influenced another's life. So it is better to handle difficult to understand behaviors with mindful awareness and human understanding than with bitter disdain. Wish a person well with sincerity and thoughtfulness, not condescending judgement. It is far more disarming.
Cuddling is a wide spectrum of experiences. I'm learning what qualities each of these different experiences bring . It is indeed platonic but with a mix of different sensual, emotional, mental and physical essences. I'm learning to navigate all of these in one cuddle and one or two in others depending on who I'm with and how I'm feeling.
I'm a natural giver and pleaser. But I'm also hypersensitive. I'm learning how to balance giving with thinking and feeling. Not allowing my feeling to define my moment but my interest to drive my focus and check my feelings against the objective reality of my experience.
So not every cuddle experience will leave me with an oxytocin high. But having that connection gives me another voice to hear in a future conversation. Or just having made that connection gave me an opportunity to voice my desires with someone in a connection that in that moment was meaningful to me.
I got to share a piece of myself with someone. I got a chance to take a slice of someone's experience and use it in my own. That's a gift I can only keep regifting as I continue the circle of livity.
On the matter of Need
Need is a hard quality or essence to define. It is transient and changing so it is often difficult to identify. That's why many will say they can't even say what they need at one point or another.
Today I had the privilege of speaking with a few people on this matter. And when we addressed the subject together it took us a several hour conversation to define what we call need, for each person to say what their specific need is and to get to the task of defining ways in which that need can be filled. And what meeting that need looks like.
By talking to these different people over several hours I realized how similar our needs were yet different. How we identified , defined and visualized what they looked like when met.
It was in that moment that I appreciated in a visual and emotional way how different people fill different roles in one's life.
In addition to regular cuddle buddies I need people to talk to, to hang with, to bounce ideas off intellectually, to share my body sexually with, to be my spiritual self with, to be my wild badass self with and just laugh and play with and to tell anything that's on my mind to unconditionally without judgement. No one person can fill these roles. But since roles do overlap one person can play two roles at the same time.
And that's my lesson this Monday afternoon.
Never rely on one source or agency for personal fulfillment of needs. Different persons fill different needs by playing different roles in ones life. So does doing different activities put one's mind in a different dynamic that encourages a different behavior and approach. And hence fills a different need.
On the matter of Need and Cuddling
How does need relate to the principle of community? Empathy and openness.
Everyone who joins this site has an unmet need. Each person fills their unmet need differently. Hence this community offers different ways for persons to meet their unmet need, fully or partially.
Neither one of us knows what any one person's need is. We can assume. But unless s/he States it we don't. And even at different times in that person, needs evolve over time.
The one thing we can do is to be patient with and reflect one's feelings as expressed in what they say or do. As we show that loving empathy by being patient with whatever behaviors and attitudes a potential cuddler presents to us in messages or forum posts and openness toward them where ever they are in their life journey by reflecting their words and actions back to them without judgement or assumptions we are in fact helping people to define their needs. We are helping them to meet their needs on one level or another. We just don't always know it.
On the matter of Compartmentalization and the Cuddle Experience
Compartmentalization of emotion and thought in the cuddle experience for me is deferred judgment and transferred sensation. Since one is often dealing with conflict between values, feelings, thoughts and experience when trying to remain totally platonic in an activity that triggers many sexual and erotic sensations.
In the messaging phase, compartmentalization means I defer judgement of those who message with defensive disdain. Of those who mask their sexual intent and interest with condescension and intellectual snubbery and muting. Of those who are quick to judge my mental and emotional health out of their own wounded cowardice and insecurity.
I defer judgement by reflecting their words and actions back at them in a neutral, objective and nonjudgmental way and seek their feedback. It's disarming to that person and serenely empowering to me. I've made some dearly enlightening connections by doing this with guys I would simply have dismissed as unworthy of my time and attention.
In cuddling, compartmentalization means transferred sensation and deferred release. I sometimes get sexually aroused when I cuddle. And so does some of the men I cuddle with. I transfer my sexual sensation to a sensual, non sexual place where I focus on where I am. So if the sensation is coming from my groin I switch positions that moves the sensation from the groin to the feet or the arms or on some activity away from the body. Listening to music or watching a movie for example. Sometimes just taking a break to the restroom or doing leg stretches. It's really awesome when you share that with someone who feels what you feel and share in the transference of sensation with you in a way that allows you to deal with that desire for release without acting on it and still enjoy an amazing platonic experience. Both of you feel empowered by doing so because it's not something you're used to nor at times want to do. But for the sake of keeping that platonic purity between you both you defer and transfer and enjoy the moment in purity of spirit and non sexual intent.
What I’ve learned today, ask a lot of questions, other wise people will take their time to show their true nature because rarely do they show it when first meeting.
I learnt something else this afternoon about compartmentalization. Decompress and forgive.
When you invest time sharing with a person in conversation it makes you vulnerable and it makes you feel connected. When you or the other person end that connection sometimes without ever meeting it can be hard to forget.
I felt that empty void recently when I abruptly ended an otherwise great conversation with someone that went on for almost a month. There were concerns I had with the way communication happened around our conversations but said nothing about it. Until frustration and resentment built up in me and I ended the communication by blaming myself.
It was unhealthy to react the way I did by beating down myself and projecting my unmet need on to that person. But it was how I felt. So I reached out to the person and expressed my heartfelt apology. I don't expect a response. I don't care for one either. Because my single action makes me in that person's mind a mentally ill waste that is best avoided. I have no problem with that mindset. To each his own.
But reaching out with that apology allowed me to put closure to an experience that tore me up internally for days. It allowed my to forgive my self for my thought less actions. It allowed me to reflect on the specific needs I have that I was unfairly projecting on to this person. And by doing so I've taken the necessary actions to address those unmet needs with multiple cuddle interests across many multifaceted conversations and activities.
That is post a pre cuddle conversation. And I truly feel better for it .
To hold onto one of my most priceless piece of my humanity without apology. A photograph of myself.
Holding it long enough teaches me about the true character and intent of others. And it allows me to gauge their degree of interest in me as a person. Talk is cheap and convenient.
My gut always gives me good insight into who people are. Even if at first I don't understand it.
Today I learned the beauty of authentic connection. What it truly means to be of value. Every day for past few days I get a message from someone who is new in the community. None of them was seeking to cuddle with me. What they wanted was someone to validate their impression of this site with a first hand experience from someone who has been on the site.
I truly felt humbled. Their request for me to share my nuggets of whatever I have gleaned from my brief experience on here was a gift to me. A gift I was more than happy to to receive and share.
In this moment of sharing with curious, eager new members looking to explore their own cuddle journey I learned the value of time. Letting things evolve organically no matter how painful.
My contribution to this community will not be in forum discussions. It has already been gifted to me in the messaging threads. And I will do my very best to encourage and support those who reach out to me . I'm not perfect. I'm barely human. But I have a mission to give my heartfelt thoughts and spirit to those who seek it. If that's not enough value for me to be then I don't know what is.
Thanks for posting all of these thoughts. I’m benefiting from them, and I appreciate that you take the time to write them out and share them.
@MrPaul thanks for acknowledging. I'm honored and eternally grateful that you find meaning and value in the thoughts. Feel free to post your own as well.
@mokissia thanks for contributing. Asking questions is always a good strategy to gain clarity about one's intentions.
We often use neat fancy terms to represent and/or define a concept or principle that encapsulate many experiences and values. Sometimes the term resonates . Sometimes it doesn't.
"Holding space" is one such. I appreciate the essence of that term but it does not offer the broad accessibility to the experience it so simply yet succinctly describe.
For me holding space is simply being present with someone in their joy or pain. Sitting with their feelings. Walking beside them in their struggles. Listening without offering advice or solutions or judging. Walking behind them to follow up with them on how they're doing even when they seem to want to be left alone. And walking away as necessary.
Being present is to practice patience in allowing a person to be where ever s/he is in his or her journey even if it's not where I am. Sometimes it means allowing a person to continue on a path of self destruction knowing fully well they may not survive . What counts is not the outcome of their actions. It's the space we allow them to have to be where ever they are in that moment.
I had a former coworker and friend who became addicted to cocaine and synthetic meth who was having one of those withdrawal moments when he hadn't got his paycheck yet to pay for his fix and needed something to hold him over. Luckily he wasn't manic and out of control. He invited me over to his house one day to chat. I went fully knowing what his situation is. Yet I patiently sat and listened to him remorsefully talk about making up lost time with his children. I sat with him as he described his pain from the feeling of isolation from his family because of his drug use. I listened without judging him. I let him share in the way he needed to and was comfortable. At the end of our conversation I gave him a hug and walked away. Later on I followed up with him on how he was doing. He was high and uninterested in talking. I walked away. A few months later he passed away from an overdose.
Holding space is also about being tolerant of where a person is. Allowing your self to sit with that person's humanity without judgement. And knowing when to walk away as necessary.
In cuddling, holding space is being present with someone in their journey. It's being present with their social anxiety. Sitting with them and making them comfortable in that shared cuddle space. Whether it's in the messaging, precuddle phase or actual meet up , cuddling phase.
It's sitting with their built up pain from being rejected and/or ignored by a life partner. It is walking beside them as they struggle with their self esteem after years of feeling abandoned and neglected by themselves and others. It's walking behind them to follow up with them about how they're doing and feeling in any given moment. Even after a cuddle. It's being patient in allowing them the space to get comfortable via email or text messaging for as long as they need to before sharing a picture or talking on the phone.
It's being fully present with whatever someone needs as a potential cuddler to be comfortable with and co-share and co-create with me in a cuddle experience.
That need may be time to feel comfortable expressing, giving and receiving. Communication preferences based on shyness, anxiety or an intense need for privacy. So if email is what you are comfortable with now then that's how we communicate. If talking on the phone feels better then we do phone conversations.
Likewise if picture sharing is not your thing then we don't share pictures.
When it comes to cuddling itself, meeting people where they are is for me being present with. Some folks are more sensual than others. Some prefer skin to skin cuddling. Again within mutually negotiated boundaries one walks beside that person in that need. If it's violating to me to do skin to skin then being present for and with that person means I either share my preferences and boundaries honestly or walk away. If the context is a professional one where the boundaries are already predefined then those preferences do not apply. But one is still being present with the client's needs. There are so many other ways for one to be present with another.
Others prefer to just hold hands and talk. Some people are more tactile and thought driven than others. If hugging is not your thing but you love a good riveting debate. I will honor that too. That's being present with you. It's my unconditional acceptance of where you are and willing commitment to meet and sit with you there. It might not be my thing. But it is my gift to be present with you unconditionally in that moment wherever you are.
Whatever a person needs and is comfortable with, wherever he or she is is what I honor. That is being present with, holding space for or whatever fancy term you like. While still being mindful and respectful of your own needs and boundaries.
And that is what it means for me in the cuddle experience.
I tend not to learn things from day to day, I find learning sinks in after weeks or months when I reflect back on things.
@ukguy that is absolutely true as well. Some lessons are absorbed over time. It's not the frequency that matters so much as the insight one gains and what one does with it.. That can happen now, today or over several months or years.
Thanks for contributing.
Overtime I've learned that cuddling is a fluid process. Just as one's needs change over time the cuddle experience changes too.
One's mindset toward a cuddle evolves with each new cuddle experience and cuddler. Sometimes that evolution can be good or bad. Oftentimes it teaches you about yourself and the mindsets of others. The more you learn is the more you customize.
And at times meeting a specific unmet need initially often helps the cuddle experience to evolve organically. That need can be met by different people in different ways and not particularly in the cuddle space.
For example, the need to talk about one's feelings and have them validated and/ acknowledged. The need to feel wanted and desired and to have that validated and/ or acknowledged by others.
My point is part of meeting people where they are is acknowledging their needs as well as our own and how that impact the cuddle experience. What someone says s/he wants is not necessarily what s/he feels or is even aware of .
Hence we can either thwart or sabotage and/or help our experience by choosing to acknowledge where someone's mindset is without becoming emotionally invested.
Cuddling is also a time consuming process. On the one hand some view it as a strictly transactional activity. Yet those same ones want to have the accessibility to make demands on another's time as s/he deem necessary. My time is my time. Your time is yours. Why can't we be respectful and mindful of each other's time?
For others cuddling is about connection with others and time sharing as necessary for both parties with or without the transaction of a cuddle. There may or may not be restrictions on time. But the interest is in social connection. The accessibility is to potential future cuddles or much more . Not to prolonged online messages or video chat conversations that make unreasonable and unrealistic demands on one's time. So the desire to communicate is not of bladder urgency. It is whenever as one can within the limits of one's life and work schedule.
Unfortunately when cuddling only becomes a transaction the focus of each party is on feeling good and instant gratification. When that feel good moment is passed a person seizes to be human. Until of course when the next oxytocin serotonin fix is needed. So I'm only an appliance that you use now because you need the energy from my body to experience the feel good hormones. When that is done I stop existing to you.
You may next me or find someone new. Or you only message me when you need the hormone fix. The transactional cuddle. It's okay.
It might be even better if I were charging by the hour. At least I have that money to show for my efforts in that transaction. But I'm not interested in monetary reward. I care about sharing with others. I care about cuddling and in making meaningful connections. So I invest time and effort to know and appreciate different people.
But the time may have come when I need to divest of my emotions in any phase of the cuddle experience. And just commit to feeling absolutely nothing. Nothing but the desire to hug someone and walk away. And just keep interacting with as many people as is humanly possible. And just live. Feel nothing! Expect nothing. Want nothing.
But I refuse to allow myself to be used and disposed of like garbage. And if in the messaging phase I detect that I'm about to be treated like a transaction only to later be disposed of as garbage I will simply not respond and I will very respectfully withdraw my interest. Seriously. Cuddling is not a mental game. It's a low priority activity that is only one of my many recreations. It's not that important.
When cuddling is done as a secret activity, care should be taken to respect other people's time and life schedules. You can't place restrictions on my accessibility to you. Yet make unrealistic and unreasonable demands on my time when you have and want that time.
I'm very, very understanding and flexible in the time arrangements I make with people to cuddle. I honor folks request to only message them on this site or email. I never initiate a call or text to someone who requests exclusive privacy. And even if they don't, I generally let them do the initiating. Just me. Time is a very valuable resource.
But I have absolutely no interest in someone who wants to demand my time at his convenience then treat me like disposable garbage at his whim and fancy. It's just not happening.
I value my free time that I freely give. And I'm continuosly learning to just walk away as I need to. While I value connection with others. I value my self esteem far more. It's not worth throwing away my human dignity and self respect for. I have better things to do with my mind.
And this is considering that you're doing this activity without the knowledge and often consent of your spouse and making elaborate constraints on how much access you give me to you and your time. It's very ridiculous that you demand so much of mine simply because you can. Simply because I give you that access.
Because cuddling is your secret recreational activity let's be fair to the few open minded, flexible, big hearted fools like me willing to honor and respect that need and desire for privacy. At the very least. Just saying.
In the movie "Pretty Woman" Richard Gere is dumped by a girl, because ( she tells him ) he expected her to be "at his beck and call". She also tells him that she had more conversation with his secretary, than with him ; and we later learn that one was Chief Bridesmaid to the other.
I heard of a couple who were struggling for a baby ; and to increase their chances, only had sex when she was most fertile. The man had great difficulty turning his libido on and off, which I guess is the reverse scenario.
Our appetites ( for everything ) vary with time, and it is always awkward if that doesn't match the availability of what we want.
I agree that if there is some "arrangement" for repeated cuddling, each party should be flexible to make themselves available when the other needs them ; and given the male-female ratio on the site, that probably means the males being more flexible.
@geoff1000 Thanks for your comment.
The truth is it's every man for himself. Even if there is no arrangement for repeated cuddling. Even if the arrangement is for a one and done session, one's time should still be respected. Human courtesy does not make one weak and or strong.
And it's also true that appetite changes with biological , emotional and physical needs as well as social circumstances. So it's okay for one to change his mind.
I learned today that it is easier to go from one floor of a building to the next one down using the steps as they were intended, not by missing one and tumbling the rest of the way. And now I will take some Aleve and crawl into bed.
Today I thought about the benefits of connecting with people who are different from myself, so that my mind can be opened to other points of view. I’ve already experienced some of that here in this forum.
I often think of my day at night when I go to bed, most of the time it's hard to fall asleep, so I go over things I did, things I said, sometimes I think, maybe I should not have said this or that, or maybe an action I did, so I learn from that. My dad always said, if you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything and keep your ears open, as you may learn something. I just attained a friend's funeral, so let your family & friends know how you feel, as they may not be there tomorrow !!!!!
My heart goes out to the spouses, children, family and friend of the victims of last Sunday's helicopter crash. As I think of them I think of the small yet powerful and precious gestures that seemed meaningless before but holds such special meaning in reflection. When you think of them as not being here anymore. You then think of what might have been. What will it feel like in their permanent absence.
But then at some point in grieving you remember what made them so special in life. And you carry on or create that routine in your life that allows you to hold a small corner in your daily acts of living to commemorate the special gifts they imbued in you or simply taught you. Whether through their words or deeds.
I sincerely hope that as each person grieves and remembers their loved on in their own unique way, s/he will also hold a small corner in his or her daily acts of living to honor the gifts that made the deceased loved one special.
I'm always grateful for perspective. Even if it comes at a moment when I'm not inclined to want to hear it. Even if it comes from someone whose intentions and motivation I don't trust or question. It's still perspective I can use to my advantage.
And if it's one lesson I learn today that I'm always learning every day is there is always a teachable, learnable moment in insult, in criticism or just plain negative skin bruising commentary. Whether it was intended or perceived.
I'm still learning to make peace with having to exclude decade size chunks of my life experience. I have had to learn to invalidate my human experience and that which I share with my loved ones in order to avoid unnecessary scrutiny from many whose own life experiences make them incapable of or unwilling to understand my life journeys. It's been no easy task but each day I learn new strategies of self invalidation and self deprecation as I glean new and different perspectives from folks I meet in life and on this site.
It's been a labor of love but a necessary requirement for me to belong. Or at least feel like I do.
At these times I remember George Orwell's Animal Farm. That comment from one of the characters in the novel at a time of frustration with their leaders:
" All animals are equal. But some are more equal than others"
That comment has resonated deeply with me in my life journeys. Especially as I learn ways to grow new roots and try on new perspectives. Even as I struggle to figure out effective ways to invalidate decades of my life experience from existence. Ways to make new positive memories that are sharable and relatable. Ways to contribute meaningfully and productively.
I keep it as a constant reminder to erase pieces of my memories as invalid and unnecessary. And to validate only those experiences that are worthy of such validation. And to maintain positive constructive and meaningful interactions with those new experiences and memories.