Monthly Archives: May 2014

What Qualifies Me?

Systems and Networks

Systems and networks are what I do.  With 12 years in telecommunications, interfacing human systems with computer systems, I have extensive experience in making these systems work together. 

Or not.

I’ve engaged in the prospecting of, pitching for, conceiving of, design of, production of, implementation of, and integration of, countless networks and network/system components over the years.  I’ve troubleshooted what went wrong, I’ve supported existing networks, I’ve counseled individual users when things didn’t work right.

And at some point, I was at such a point of success, fulfillment and accomplishment in my career, my education, my personal life, my romantic and family life, that I turned my attention to learning about energy and really focusing on my spirituality.

What resulted was nothing short of a total transformation.  As a survivor of abuse, a young mother, a single parent for many years, an uneducated professional, a lover of counter-culture and fringe communities, I’ve reinvented myself countless times.  But this last has been a major paradigm shift.  A true descent into the underworld and return to the land of the living with a boon, a mission, allies, adversaries, strategies, tools, and utter faith in the Great Vision and my role within it. 

I’ve been told that among my talents is some kind of gift for synthesizing varying types of information across many platforms, and articulating it to laypeople as something coherent.  At one time, I was going to parlay this into a career in technical writing. 

Some time ago, Tantra bubbled up as My Path.  I’d studied techniques here and there, and found them to be juicy and meaningful, but I realized that there was Really Big Woo in it for me.  It has been written that Tantra means “interweaving” or “network”.  I like to think of it as That Which Draws Together. 

Within the framework of my life’s work in business, Tantra as a natural extension of my path makes a lot of sense. 

I have come to understand the driving motivations behind why humans choose to build a system.  What kinds of systems are effective, which are not.  Which are actually work-arounds to accommodate poor human behavior or choices, undesirable and irreconcilable circumstances.  What kinds of motivations are virtuous, which are askew.  I’ve come to know, intuitively, what drives lie in the minds and hearts of men.  I’ve a deep desire to see the good ones gain the attention they deserve.  But what’s always spoken to my spirit has been making an impact.

I’ve written about my “natural enthusiasm”. What I’ve come to understand was an infusion of Spirit at a young age, that, despite my many attempts, I’ve not been able to quench, misdirect, silence, subsume, for too long.

Long before I stumbled upon my career, I knew there was power in my sexuality.  Hell, live as adolescent girl-prey for a year or two, and you pick things up.  It took me some more years to learn it wasn’t just a common thing, this quality to my sexuality.  Whatever it was, men tended to become addicted, to act like crazed people, to regain access to it.  While I knew there was something I “took” from this quality, it would take another decade or two to realize.  By my early 20’s, I’d come to realize that most people had all kinds of shame and weirdness built up around their genitals.  I wasn’t sure why, I didn’t know how to fix it, but the one gift my heart wanted to give to every person on the planet was reconciliation with their erotic urges.  I wanted to look every person in the eyes and tell them, “it’s okay. that sick and wrong fetish that you’ve hidden from everyone that loved you – there are people out there that fetishize the exact same thing!  Now go!  Go, and find good quality love. And sex.”  You know.  Like Dan Savage if he were a hippie goth in Ann Arbor in the 90’s.  Or something. I was lucky to have come from a very sex-positive family.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t get plenty of icky messages about my body and my worth, and perfection being the only thing that counted, but sexuality was not inherently bad in my family of origin.  It’s always felt very alien to me, the way our culture treats sexuality as something so revolting and shameful.  I’ve long felt anachronistically born out of sync with pop culture; that I would have fit right into the Freelove movement. 

So this Tantra thing is totally it.  I am very interested in doing sexual healing work with people.  Transfolk and LGBTQIA people specifically.  I want to re-frame gender and bodies as sacred expressions of divine energy.  I want to re-integrate sexuality as part of a holistic human experience.  I want to reclaim, remember, reemerge, resume Goddess mentality, Goddess energy, Goddess principles, a Goddess-forward way of living. I have the language, the insight, the resources, the training, the framework, the support, to do the Work.  I’m Qualified.


I’m still here.

I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for a year now. It’s been a year since my psychiatric event, or very near.


Yesterday, I had a rare “free” day. I’d worked until 7:30am, had my noon plans canceled by about 9:30, received Isabella at 11:15, and was partner-free for the foreseeable future. My head was addled by exhaustion, and I had little “adult brain” left. But I was so warmed by my daughter’s presence right away. Earlier when the midday plans were canceled, I’d begun to think about how to use our day. It took us nearly 3 hours to make it out of the house fed, dressed, and with a plan. From there, we changed our plan probably 4 times!


But something happened, incrementally, yesterday. Even feeling exhausted physically, “empty” emotionally, moot/mute on a higher-consciousness level, kiddo and I were able to have a really delightful day. And how? We were in the moment. We just focused on enjoying each other. We allowed our plan to flow and change as it delighted us throughout the day, and we didn’t take the hard knocks too tough. Our favorite restaurant closed for the day? No biggie – we found somewhere else to eat. Preferred nail salon closed on Sundays? No worries, we’ll go to the thrift store to shop for pretty things instead. Walk here/browse there/delay at this stop? We handled each of those as co-creative decisions, because this time, this day, was about us.


It could be argued that my daughter and I Tantrically created a container for mutual delight, and we surrendered to each other’s leading and following as it felt authentic.


It was good for me. I know it was good for her, too, because hello focused parent-child time.


But what I got in addition to an awesome day with kiddo? I reconnected with myself. Once I realized that my time wasn’t obligated to any one particular thing, old Jen started to emerge. Healthy Jen. Even in my mentally exhausted, moot/mute higher-consciousness, emotionally “empty” space, I found my Zen. Everything wasn’t perfect or even remotely close, but it was okay. Because we had right now. And the sun was shining, and I had this breath in my lungs. I didn’t have all the answers and I didn’t care, because it was just good to be. Nothing could break our stride, mellow though it was, because we had chosen to be with each other. Suffused with just a droplet of two of that healthy authentic juicy Jen, my optimism and genuine Happy got a-rollin’ again.


So even though my family of origin is kind of a shit-show right now. And personal relations are strained in every direction. And I really don’t know when it will lighten up or begin to dissipate, because we’re all on a journey of becoming…


It’s going to be okay.


I’m still here. Healthy Jen is still in there, and she still emerges, even when the chips are down. There’s a reason I put all that effort into becoming balanced before everything fell apart. I remember. Healthy Jen remembers. If she’s still there, I can bring myself back to that feel. My Zen. My center.

I give.

Well, Goddess(es), it has been two years since I’ve officially dedicated myself to working towards the betterment of the world in the ways the Universe sees fit.  I’ve largely prayed only to be a finer, more well-tuned instrument of love.  Of course there have been mistakes, even egregious errors and slights.  I’ve tried to be really honest and accountable when that’s happened.


Somehow, I’ve created circumstances in both my natal family and my chosen family which are triggering everything from panic attacks to catatonia. 


So Mom with the recent drinking problem was passed out at the local Chili’s last night.  My brother called me and declared the situation.  He was irate, and demanding my “backup” with whatever response he was going to have to the circumstance.  I, given the teetering panic attack day I’d already had, told Twan that I could not participate in the drama.  The exact words were, “Twan, my recovery depends on not getting involved in the drama of others’, and I cannot join you in this today.”  He hung up.  Today, I went to attempt to talk to Mom about the events of yesterday.  My brother’s first words were confrontational and vicious.  He informed me that my son, my husband, both my children, and essentially everyone that matters thinks I’m not showing up enough.


I’ve been living my life out loud for years now.  Every piece of my journey, I’m accountable to.  I’m exhaustively expressive; oversharing my process and my insights with anyone that would listen.  How is it that my legitimacy as a standup person is in question after all this time?


It was made clear to me early on in my recovery that transparency is important.  When we start lying to others around us, it’s generally a result of lying to ourselves.  It became excruciatingly important that I understand my own motivations, and be able to articulate them and defend or change them as necessary.  Dan and I constructed our relationship with a ridiculously high standard of transparency and processing.  How is it that those who supposedly know me the best feel comfortable attacking me when I’m struggling the most?


The last year has been a crucible, and the onset of 2014 made me take to heart this message: Take Care Of Yourself Or Else.  The therapist is oft to remind me that this whole family I struggle and stress myself out for?  Depends on me.  And if I’m not caring for myself and making sure I’m a Whole Person First, then I fail them before I’ve started.


So OK.  I’ve been slow to learn this lesson.  Could you throw me some supportive bones here?  It feels like the world is against me.