The following blog post and red quotations were written by a student in Wellcelium’s Ignite! course. Bold quotes below in black were written by Dr. Pavini Moray as part of the Ignite! course curriculum. The questions and practices sections at the end of this post were developed by Wellcelium to support your exploration.

“Part of learning boundaries is also learning to discern what your “yes” is. What will you allow into your system? What is good for you? What do you long for? Permission is the practice of learning to feel okay with yourself as you are.”

This week we are moving from what it is to have an embodied “no,” to ask what it is to have an embodied “yes.” Yes feels way harder for me to access than no. The workbook starts with simple questions, as always, easing me in. Is it easier to drink or to eat? Is it easier to move or be still?What have I given greater permission for.

But sex isn’t like that, a this or that option.

I start unearthing little bits of how yes feels to me but I still feel blank when I ask myself, “What is something that I have a strong yes to in my erotic life?”

I remember a lover once pulling out a lovely huge bag of toys and asking me what I liked. I had this same blank feeling. “I don’t know.” I really wanted to know. In that moment there was a generous person who was ready and willing and well equipped to try giving me whatever I wanted. And what I wanted? To run the fuck away because I didn’t know. Didn’t even really know where to start.

I’ve looked for my erotic yeses before. Done porn research, been to sex parties and clubs and really looked around curiously hoping to find what would spark in me.

“Many people, when asked to give themselves permission for some­thing they have been withholding, feel fear. What will happen if I let go of the control I am exerting over myself?… What is the critic who wields shame taking care of? Something important, no doubt.”

Maybe my yes blockage is more basic than what I want when doing sex. Maybe it’s more like, do I say yes to sex. Do I say yes to being an erotic creature, now, as I am? I start thinking that maybe I have been afraid to give up control, to want or need sex. Am I ready to sacrifice control? To experience desire? “Freedom requires sacrifice of the safety that maintains the status quo” Pavini tells us. “Permission is to surrender to your purpose.”

I want to surrender to my purpose.

But I’m also scared of finding out what my purpose is. What if I don’t have an erotic purpose?

I’m scared that I will learn that I don’t want to have sex if I listen too deeply. Or something else awful like that I’m not as gay as I thought and just want to have boring straight sex. Which feels a bit ridiculous cause been there done that and quite clear on my non-satisfaction. Still, I see the panic. It’s there. I try to permit it.

“It becomes easier to give yourself permission to want what you want, feel what you feel, be what you are, when you investigate the WHY you have not been giving yourself permission. The attitude to cultivate here is curiosity, not blame.”

Why can’t I give myself permission to be an erotic creature right now? What is that withholding guarding? I’m sure it’s trying to help me but I don’t know why yet. Before I can know what I want, I have to let myself be a wanting creature. To long for what I can’t give myself alone. Which is scary as a very independent person who often had to take care of myself.

For now, I just have to sit with the question and try to release the frustration and annoyance so I can stay with curiosity. Ugh. This work is work.

“And you must also know that to give yourself this permission almost always requires a sacrifice of how your life has been before.”

In our weekly meeting, I listen to my cohort share beautiful things.

I have the sense that everyone is having breakthroughs but all I feel is frozen. Pavini says that the erotic will liberate you. I really want that to be true but I know I don’t fully believe it yet. I think of a quote from Barbara Carrellas’ book Ecstasy Is Necessary: a Practical Guide (2012):

“Ecstasy is a universal human experience. It is not limited to those who are sufficiently spiritual, excessively sexual, or brilliantly artistic. Ecstasy happens to everyone, sooner or later, in one way or another.”

I hope so. (Also I just discovered that Carrellas taught twice with Wellcelium this year which is, um, mind-blowing cause she’s totally an erotic superstar in my mind so this feels like the possibility of erotic study with Sara Ahmed or Tilda Swinton or something. Okay, now back to the class…)

I really don’t want to speak. I don’t know what to say.

When it’s my turn, I am quiet and then just say: “I just feel frozen.” Pavini says, “Can that be okay?” “It’s not okay, it sucks.” I’m tired of being frozen. Paralysis is frustrating because you can’t do anything about it, since you’re paralysed. The group witnesses me and sends me love. Reminds me that I’m in the midst of hard work and that I’m showing up for it.

Frozen is a state I’m pretty darn good at since my fight/flights let me down previously, I’ve developed the capacity to hang out in freeze for a looooong time. Come on self, what about permission is so threatening that you go into frozen?

At the end of the workbook for this week, there is an Erotic Permission slip that one can fill out and sign to give oneself permission for all one’s desires, for being one’s full erotic self. It doesn’t feel right to sign it. Yet. But I’ve pinned it onto my wall, empty, and I’m waiting for the moment that I’m ready to give myself permission, to step into my yes.

“We do not heal because we forget. We heal because we remember and find whatever justice means for ourselves. We heal be­cause we accept ourselves, and our communities witness us with love and compassion.”

Questions to Ask Yourself:

Where have you been able to give yourself permission in your life? How? Where is permission easy for you to give yourself? Where do you struggle to give yourself permission? What do you worry might happen if you gave yourself permission for ?

Suggested Practice:

Standing or laying still, find a body that feels neutral to you. After some time, ask yourself to enter into a “no” body. Feel what that feels like, get curious about it.

Returning to the neutral feeling place, let that go. Then, after some time, ask yourself to enter into a “yes” body. Let it be everywhere in your body. Feel free to move around if you want to. Get curious about it.

Then return to the neutral body and breathe. Return your mind to the space where you are and take some time to contemplate what information you’ve gathered.