Last week I attended the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) conference in Sydney and some workshops looking at your sexuality coming form the perspective of mind, body, heart and soul.
It was an interesting week of academia and self journey. You may wonder why I am going on this journey as I approach 56 years of age. I went on the journey to discover who I was and why I was on this earth back in 2001 after leaving a several decade long relationship, where I had lost who I was. So over 15 years later I decided I needed to explore myself again before I go into full time practice as a sexologist, it is always a good idea to look at your own stuff and how it will impact on your work.
What did I learn about myself last week?
I learnt that the work I did all those years ago was still having a positive impact, I may have changed an incredible amount since then but the journey was still continuing as my life experiences informed who I am today.
I am still making good choices with my heart and who I share it with, I do not expect my partner to fulfil all my needs, I can do this for myself and with the other people I have in my life. It certainly takes the pressure off them and the relationship.
We looked at our parents, our relationship with them, and their qualities and how we continue to look for the qualities about them in the people we choose to have in our lives. We explored what we wanted in a partner, in our relationships with them and in life in general, what we bring to the relationship and what actions we will do to bring about what we know is best for us.
I looked at the patterns of relationships in my life, with others and with myself, and I could see a continuing theme of passion and desire....looking for it in others, requiring validation of it in myself from others and finally being in a place where I can do it for myself.....I have come home to ME.
One of the big things I realised was the relationship I had with my body. Just like everyone else my body has changed considerably as I have aged and menopause certainly has had an impact, there were many things I was not comfortable with. But my lightbulb moment was with the fact that yes I am now about 18kg heavier than I was most of my life and certainly 15kg than I was at my previous heaviest, but my concerns about my changing body were more related to how it functioned than what it looks like. I can still find pleasure in my body, I am still a sensual being and I am still desirable, there is just more of me to desire. Maybe it does not work the same way as it used to but I will learn to work my way around that.
We also explored our past, present and future and what were our general needs, wants and desires in life. Once again patterns emerged and we looked at how we could manifest our needs and desires. This showed me that I was already on the path to have all this and more, I had put things in place to increase my passion for life, to have fun and adventure. Part of the journey was actually attending the workshop and I have more self exploring workshops planned through out the year.
I have also put in place ways to increase the passion, desire, fun and adventure in all aspects of my world. Work/life balance, trips away with my partner, time with my friends and family, reconnecting with my community, continuing and completing my studies, laying the foundations for my future career, learning and loving life in general.
The journey to yourself can be tough at times, as we may realise things about our self we don't like, we may look at things that have caused us hurt in the past....but it is all part of our growth as a human and well worth the effort and any pain that may come with it. I am glad I did all that painful work so many years ago and will continue to unpack where I am now so that I can be a better practitioner and person for may years to come.
So I am more mindful, living in the moment, being grateful and looking at life with fresh eyes.
Bring on 2017 I say....it is looking grand.
Richelle has had a passion for sexuality and sexual health since 2001. She has worked in the field since 2006, providing sexuality education in schools, and adult education in the topics of diverse sexualities and gender identities, LGBT health issues, sexual health and LGBT relationships.
This is a space for me to share with you my journey as a Sexologist, the things I learn and the people I meet and what I think and feel along the way.