Sunday, February 28, 2016

Luminous and Safe in Vulnerability

Life requires vulnerability.

Let us treat ourselves gently and allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

Let us accept ourselves as we are today without the need for perfection. Let us allow ourselves the freedom to learn without grandiose expectations.

We are living beings. Let us allow our lives to flow broadly across the plain of experience and to rest in the sun of self-acceptance.

(Adapted by The Leveret)

Related Off-site Links:
Love As Exploring VulnerabilityThe Wild Reed (October 20, 2012).
Love as "Quest and Daring and Growth"The Wild Reed (June 2, 2015).

Image: Subject and photographer unknown.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hare's Dream

Writes artist Hannah Willow:

"I am inspired by the English landscape, in particular the Wiltshire landscape where I live and work surrounded by hills, woodlands and primeval places, carved white hill horses and ancient rings of standing stones. My inspiration comes from the land, wild and free places, stories and folklore, poetry, myths and legends. I strive to capture the hidden knowledge held within the landscape and spark rememberings that will connect us back to our deepest roots and the hidden memory of this land."

Image: "Hare's Dream" by Hannah Willow.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Following is a second excerpt from James B. Nelson's insightful book, The Intimate Connection: Male Sexuality, Masculine Spirituality. (For the first excerpt, which focuses on the phallus, click here.)


In our daily lives, almost all men are genitally soft by far the greater share of the time. Genitally speaking, penis rather than phallas is our awareness, insofar as we are aware at all. (For economy in words, I will use "penis" for the organ in its flaccid, unaroused state.) We are genitally limp most of our waking moments, and while erections come frequently during sleep we are seldom aware of them.

Psychically, the experience of phallus and of penis seem very different. An erection during waking hours claims my attention. Frequently I choose not to act upon its aroused urgency, and sometimes in embarrassment I hide its evidence, But its claims on my psychic awareness have an undeniable phallic imperiousness.

The penis is different. Most of the time I am unaware of it. It is just there, part of me, functioning in my occasional need to urinate, but most often invisible from my conscious awareness, much as an internal organ. But when I am conscious of it in dressing or undressing, I am aware of its difference from phallus. Penis is considerably smaller. It is wrinkled. There is even something comical about the contrast. It has a relaxed humility. In its external existence it seems vulnerable, and with the testicles it needs jockstrap protection during the body's vigorous athletics.

In spite of the quantitative dominance of penis time, men tend to undervalue penis and overvalue phallus. Part of that, indeed, simply stems from conscious awareness. When the phallus is present, it demands our attention. The penis does not. Part of the difference, however, is a matter of intentional valuation. We have been taught and have learned to value phallic meanings in patriarchy: bigger is better (in bodily height, in paychecks, in the size of one's corporation or farm); hardness is superior to softness (in one's muscles, in one's facts, in one's foreign policy positions); upness is better than downness (in one's career path, in one's computer, in one's approach to life's problems), In "a man's world," small, soft, and down pale beside big, hard, and up.

Penis is undervalued, also, because we so commonly identify male energy and true masculinity with the vitality of young manhood. Infant males and little boys have frequent erections, but true phallus -- the heroic sword raised on high -- is the property of young manhood. As age comes upon a man, hardness changes and modifies. It is less apparent, less urgent, less the signature of his body. Phallus bears intimations of life and vigor, while penis bears intimations of mortality. Fearing mortality, men tend to reject the qualities of penis and project them upon women who are then seen to be small, soft, and vulnerable, qualities inferior to the phallic standard.

. . . [Yet] the man who affirms his whole sexuality knows that both phallus and penis are one. They are different but interdependent qualities of one male reality. Each at the same time is the other. In spite of the myth of phallic unaffectedness, men know that they are not made of steel, nor do they last all night. Phallus not only delivers effect but is also very much affected. In intercourse it is changed, transformed into penis. "Transformed" is a good word. Sometimes we use the language of death and resurrection about the male genital experience, but it is time to reassess that imagery. It can be highly misleading, even destructive. Yet I fear that the image is fairly common in the male psyche. It suggests that phallus is alive and then, when spent, dies. Penis, then, is the death from which phallus is raised once again.

. . . But when the phallus becomes penis it does not die. There is simply a change to another form of life. When the phallus becomes penis it does not lose power, except when that power is understood unilaterally. Rather, the penis has a different kind of power. It is now the man's genital sexuality expressing its capacity to absorb change. What was once hard and imperious is now soft and gentle. In both dimensions the man is experiencing his masculine power, and both are aspects of relational power. True power is mutuality, making claims and absorbing influence. It is different from the "mutuality" of external relatedness, which trades in force, compromise, and accommodation. It understands the paradox that the greatest influence often consists in being influenced, in enabling another to make the largest impact on oneself.

See also the previous posts:
Rethinking the "Normal" Penis (Part I)
Rethinking the "Normal" Penis (Part II)
Not a Weapon or a Mere Tool
Bel Homme II
Body and Soul

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Morning Light

Image: Subject and photographer unknown.