Monday, March 24, 2014

FIRST KISS (Gay Version from New Zealand)

Via JMG: NYT On The Decline Of "H" Word

The New York Times yesterday explored the vanishing use of the word "homosexual" by almost everybody except anti-gay groups.
Consider the following phrases: homosexual community, homosexual activist, homosexual marriage. Substitute the word “gay” in any of those cases, and the terms suddenly become far less loaded, so that the ring of disapproval and judgment evaporates. Some gay rights advocates have declared the term off limits. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or Glaad, has put “homosexual” on its list of offensive terms and in 2006 persuaded The Associated Press, whose stylebook is the widely used by many news organizations, to restrict use of the word.
George P. Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, has looked at the way the term is used by those who try to portray gays and lesbians as deviant. What is most telling about substituting it for gay or lesbian are the images that homosexual tends to activate in the brain, he said. “Gay doesn’t use the word sex,” he said. “Lesbian doesn’t use the word sex. Homosexual does.” “It also contains ‘homo,’ which is an old derogatory,” he added. “They want to have that idea there. They want to say this is not normal sex, this is not normal family, it’s going against God.”
Back in the 90s when some of our people began to reclaim "queer," I understood so many others in our community objected. The visceral unease that some experience when hearing or seeing the word "queer" - even in a benign, supportive or celebratory context - may never fade for those of us whose most vivid playground memories are the vicious-by-design games of "smear the queer." Still, I relished the fuck-you-ness of taking "queer" back and I defiantly wore my Queer Nation t-shirt until it disintegrated into gay-friendly cotton molecules.
Similarly, I do get why many consider "homosexual" to be cold, clinical, and reductive. But so too is "heterosexual" - and straight people certainly don't instinctively flinch at the term. For many people, the 20th century (ish) reappropriation of "gay" continues to carry an inherent, even subliminal, subtext of happiness - of a carefree life unburdened by shame or guilt or regret. And that's both wonderful and exactly why our enemies impotently flail against its usage. I don't disagree with those who complain that "homosexual" can be, often deliberately, a crude reduction of all-that-we-are to to merely who-puts-what-where.

But it cannot be denied that the epiphany that led us all here to take our first tentative steps on the yellow brick road was based in our acceptance that society's who-puts-what-where edict doesn't work for us. "Homosexual" may feel like a linguistic anachronism, but to my mind that word is merely the foundation upon which we build our culture. It's our starting point. I don't like giving the haters the satisfaction of watching us try to bury "homosexual." I wish we wouldn't do it.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via Utne: Free Your Mind: Practice Vipassana Meditation

Free Your Mind: Practice Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana meditation is a widely used relaxation practice that can be done easily by beginners, with great results! 

After years of heavy addiction, Chris Grosso found himself literally on his knees, utterly lost and broken. Grasping for life, he needed to find a new path, one that went beyond conventional religious or spiritual doctrineone free of bullshit. Indie Spiritualist (Beyond Words Publishing, 2014) empowers readers to accept themselves as they are, in all their humanity and imperfect perfection. In this excerpt learn the basics of vipassana meditation, a simple relaxation practice that can be done by anyone and in any setting.


Vipassana Meditation

Besides being asked, “What’s an Indie Spiritualist?” the second most common question I’m typically asked is “What type of meditation do you practice?”

While I personally practice many different types of medita­tion—never feeling like I have to stay within the confines of only one tradition—I typically respond with vipassana, as I’ve found it to be the most universally applicable form of meditation around. Any form of meditation that resonates with you—whether guided, man­tra, movement, and so forth—will definitely be of benefit.

I adore meditation because there are countless ways to meditate, with no particular style being any better than another. It’s all about what resonates with you. You can find many free guided medita­tions online by searching Google or YouTube, as well as by visiting your local library. Most meditation practices are to spirituality what Bob Ross was to painting—very laid back and go with the flow. And while your practice may not provide you with happy little trees, it will over time create a greater sense of peace, clarity, and serenity in your life, and that’s sorta like happy little trees, right?

Through years of drug addiction, I did considerable damage to myself, resulting in heavy bouts of depression and anxiety. For years, I relied on antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications to keep me in a somewhat balanced state, but after cultivating a dedicated meditation practice I eventually found myself at a place where, under doctor supervision, I was able to taper off the medication and no longer needed it.

Let me make it perfectly clear, however, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking prescribed medication for conditions like anxiety, depression, and so forth. I recognize that they were very nec­essary in my life at that time, as I was very chemically off-balance. There is nothing unspiritual about taking prescribed medication when needed, because our own mental and emotional well-being must come first before we can truly help others.

Whether we are on medication or not, meditation practices will certainly help us to not only cultivate more calm in our lives, but also to handle things like stress, anxiety, and depression in gentler ways. For the benefit of those who are new to meditation, I’m providing these simple guided instructions for the practice of vipassana.

Via Daily Dharma

Real Intimacy | March 24, 2014

There is no such thing as two people—whether baby and mother, two lovers, or teacher and student—being perfectly in sync with each other’s needs and wishes. Real intimacy arises from an ongoing process of connection that at some point is disrupted and then, ideally, repaired. 
—Pilar Jennings, “Looking into the Eyes of a Master”