emotional baggage, drama, and lasting love.

Each of us, even if we’ve never had one romantic relationship, comes into relationships with some baggage. No matter how emotionally healthy we are, we definitely have some things that we are carrying into the relationship.

Everyone has an issue or two or a dozen more.

When two people (with a few issues each) start falling in love sometimes they create a relationship of many ups and downs that sends them jolting and wondering if they will be thrown violently out of love and into despair.

When you and your partner both have emotional baggage the probability of their being drama is high.

Drama as in…any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest or results.

Back in the day, when I was less aware of the emotional triggers that my baggage caused it was extremely easy for a partner’s actions to set me off and the dramatic fireworks would begin. I was one of those people with a lot of baggage that tended to create unnecessary drama in my relationships and drama is what breakups are made of. Who can love someone regardless of the amount of conflict that they bring into your life? Better yet who wants to?

Yes, love should be unconditional but loving someone as they come and loving someone that brings drama into your life are two very different things.

Yet, these two things sometimes do become entangled…

What if you fall in love with someone that because of their baggage isn’t yet aware that they create drama?

What do you do then?

In my life there are currently a few people that are in relationships with people that are good people but their past isn’t something that they have worked through enough to not bring unwanted bullshit into the lives of the ones they love. It is really hard to watch people that I care about be in these relationships because they are so torn about whether to stay and love them as they do the work or go.

When my friends talk to me about their relationships one of the things I always say is, “all relationships have their ups and downs.” That is a true statement but do all relationships have drama? The relationships that I’ve seen work, the ones in which love is still alive and healthy do have their ups and downs but these relationships are for the most part drama-free.

I find myself taking a closer look at the entire history of my relationship, taking a closer look at my past relationships, and taking a closer look at all the relationships around me that work and don’t work. There is a definite answer when I look closely but it I definitely think…

How do any of us make relationships work when we all come with baggage, are capable of drama and so many of us didn’t grow up in families where there were healthy examples of love?

What makes love last?

The first answer that comes to mind is peace. The more peace and tranquility that my partner and I approach problems with the better we can overcome them. For love to last you cannot create drama within your relationship. The world will already bring plenty of drama, stress and bullshit to your door that will test your love and will definitely push those triggers that you came into the relationship with; no extra drama needed.

As I sit here wishing that I could shake the shit out of a few smart good people that could be better partners to those I love my heart aches and wants to scream, “Stop bringing all this fucking drama!”

And the second answer that comes to mind is a question…

Do YOU BOTH want the same relationship?

Because there are some people that do want and enjoy drama and will be quick to blame their past for their current actions…

If you want lasting love it is best if you stay away from *that* kind.

Yes, my heart wants to scream…

Stop the fucking drama, unpack your baggage and move the fuck forward before you lose what could be lasting love!

xo, Anaín

inner lives are sacred

My ears perked up when I heard her say, “You must nourish and protect your inner life.” She definitely was telling the entire damn truth. I knew all too well the value of being within oneself; I had learned self-love the hard way. What I learned the hard way is that our inner lives are sacred. It is on the inside where we sow our seeds, figuratively and literally even if you are not female bodied, it is on the outside where we harvest everything we’ve planted.

It is not possible to control the outside of yourself until you have mastered your breathing space. It is not possible to change anything until you understand the substance you wish to change. ― Jeanette Winterson

It wasn’t until I repeatedly, found myself standing in the ashes of what I once thought would feed my future, with nothing but a fistful of tears in my hands that I stopped focusing on the outside and went inside. I instinctively and as an act of self-preservation, went inside of myself to do the work that would ensure that no matter what life threw my way, that there would always be a positive to feed my soul and help me live another day. It was so much more than just thinking positive thoughts, doing acts of self-love, being with my emotions or focusing on myself; this was a new way of living thriving.

My tips for nourishing and protecting a sacred inner life that helps you thrive in today’s world.

  • Nourish Your Inner Life.

Feed your inner life the things that allow it to dream then expand. Nourishing your inner life requires being connected to the ebb flow of energy within you. For me, this diet mostly consists of music, books, relaxing seaside/mountainside getaways, moments of silence and conversations with people that listen without influencing but that gently nudge me towards the right decisions. My diet isn’t always low-key; who doesn’t eat something exotic or spicy once in awhile? Sometimes to nourish my inner life, I have to get my body moving vigorously. Yes, sometimes I feel the need to feast on action; running, biking, hiking and especially all things dancing. When I am in need of active nourishment, it also involves spending more time than usual around large groups of like-minded people, talking and laughing loud, sipping on our favorite drinks in a overcrowded bar or dancing the night away as sweat drips off our energized bodies. Just like the Earth has seasons our bodies have cycles, even if you are not female bodied, your soul has to adjust to the season within.

Fill yourself with all the delicious things you love and that inner voice will reward you with healthier thoughts and conversations that lead to bigger dreams. Feeding your inner life the best guarantees outer actions in a positive direction. Staying focused within, knowing exactly what kind of loving you need to keep you moving forward and balanced is the key to letting go of worry, struggle and pain. Believe me, as a person that spent too many years fighting depression, I know all too well that if you don’t feed yourself exactly what you need when you need it your inner world becomes a hell and your inner self an abused abusive demon.

You have to remember that no matter where you go there you always are. You cannot run from yourself. Your work, your lovers, your friends, your family, your parents…nobody can save you, except for you. You are the hero in your story. You have to be everything to yourself and guess what that means? That you have to feed yourself and then you have to protect yourself.

  • Protect Your Inner Life.

Protecting your inner life is where you’ll begin to get your hands dirty, how your real strength will emerge and when you’ll find out if you are cut out to be a hero. Not everyone is cut out for this; even the ones that are have moments when they can’t save themselves. Usually, if you can’t protect your inner life from other people it is because you are having trouble protecting it from yourself. Are you currently your own worst enemy? Focus on nourishing your inner life and do nothing but that.

Sometimes the only way you can protect your inner life is by doing nothing other than nourishing it. This is an especially radical subversive act when you are a parent but if you don’t provide yourself with what you need consistently more than likely you are not showing up fully as a parent. You might be doing a great job at being a parent but you are absolutely drained, exhausted and many times even resentful because you have been everything to your children without first being something to yourself. If you are married or in a relationship, these can also apply to you. Protect your inner life from yourself by doing less of the things you have to and more of the things you need to.

Too often protecting your inner life means shutting life suckers and energy vampires out of your life. As a High Priestess of Intuition, I often set bridges on fire just to keep people as far as possible from all that is good within me. Nourishing my inner life has given me a keen sensitivity for seeing which people have pure intentions and which ones have arrived to drain me. If you find yourself often complaining about someone in your life it is probably time for them to go. Cut that person off, tactfully is always best, then figure out what about you they were reflecting that you need to work on. These days whenever a person rubs me the wrong way, I first look really close to see what about them is triggering me. If following the trigger leads me to work that I have to do within myself, I figure out if I can do the work while this person is still in my life or if them constantly triggering me would hinder that work. Depending on that answer I decide whether I should burn a bridge or allow the person all the way up to my moat. If following the trigger shows me absolutely nothing that I need to work on and this person is still triggering me they always go and I don’t even care if I do it tactfully.

You have too much to fight for to wait for a savior or the ideal conditions to live the life you dream of… nourish and protect your inner life… make it hard for life’s circumstances to knock you down. Do not lay down on the inside!

xo, Anaín

how to get what you want in bed workshop

A week from today, Charlie Glickman and I will be teaching, “How to Get What You Want in Bed.”

The workshop is part of the pre-playa edition of Metta Dance at The Center SF. Tickets are $15 at the door.

Workshop description:

Do you ever feel stuck when you try to tell your partner what you want in bed? Are there things you want to try or changes you want to make in your relationship that you’re not sure how to talk about? When you can share your desires, needs, and concerns, getting what you want is much easier and sex educators Charlie Glickman and Lidia-Anain are here to help. Whatever your relationship structure, they have lots to offer. They’ll talk about some of the common hurdles we all face, offer plenty of tips for overcoming them, and give you some great new ways to make sure you get what you want!

Hope to see you there!

xo, Anaín

sex with others – the beginning

It has been well over a year since the idea to start a live and interactive web show about sexuality, in which I sit down with other sex educators and smart perverts struck me. About a month ago I decided that this August no matter what I would launch this live show in one form or another. I set the date of the launch for end of August and hoped that it would come together. Well, did it ever come together just this Monday after having lunch with my dear friend Jamye Waxman.

Since we have been talking about doing something together almost since we met, I decided to ask her about how she felt about cohosting the live web show with me. Jamye loved the idea because it had crossed her mind to start something like it before. Instantly she said yes and on the spot we started planning it out. Sitting in her car before we both went to our respective after lunch meetings we set the date for the first show (August 15) and decided that we would name the show, “Sex With Others.” The next day we announced it to the world via Facebook and in less than thirty minutes our new Facebook page had over 100 likes. We later announced that we wanted to sit down to talk love, relationships and sex with other sex educators and smart perverts and we got several responses and private messages within minutes.

As we walked from Starbucks to her car planning the show Monday afternoon we agreed that this show was something that both of our readers, friends and colleagues would like and if done properly would be great, but we never expected there to be so much support and interest for it before our first show. Although we never expected we are extremely grateful for it. Thank you!

Sex With Others launches Wednesday, August 15 at 10 p.m. EST!

Will you be watching us chat love, relationships and sex with others?

That’s awesome!

Monday, Jamye and I will be putting more information on the Sex With Others Facebook page but for now please click here to RSVP for Wednesday’s show.

We welcome and would love your thoughts and opinions!

  • Yes! We want you to suggest show topics and/or pose questions you’d like us to tackle.
  • Yes! We want to know which sex educators and smart perverts you want us to have on the show.
  • Yes! We want you to join the conversation and ask us and our guests questions during the show.
  • Yes! We cannot create a great show without y’all so please do not be shy about sending us suggestions.

Are you as excited about Sex With Others as we are? Pun intended.

xo, Anaín

women do know best & hardly settle

Had a very troubling conversation with some of my girlfriends on the phone that bothered me enough to write about it. We were chatting about relationships, love and life in general when one of the women on our call (she’s more a friend of a friend than my friend) started to belittle another woman we know for “settling” in love. Friend-Of-A-Friend went in about how the person Lady X married didn’t have as much education as X and the list of her complaints about X’s partner went on and on. I usually won’t touch the topic of settling  when it does come up but this time was an exception. I decided to take on Friend-Of-A-Friend, but before I tell you how that went I want to tell you about a very revealing conversation I had with another friend of mine on this very topic.

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked on her Facebook page:

When people say “settle” in love, what does that word, settle, mean to you?

When she asked, I definitely stayed out of the debate on Facebook but the next time we spoke on the phone about her upcoming book the subject came up and we chatted about it. Like me, she doesn’t care for the word. She asked the question as part of the research for her book and she was asking about it in a completely different light than most people usually do. Our initial talk on the subject was short mainly because we agreed on most things but a few days later I called her to share the epiphany I had about settling since our last conversation.

I rarely hear anyone say that men settle when it comes to love.

Honestly, when was the last time you heard anyone say that a man settled in love? People usually don’t say that. Yet, society loves to stress the point of women settling over and over again. Why is it that people are so consumed with this idea of women settling? (more…)

fourteen years of marriage

On June 12, 1998 at around 10:30pm my love and I got married at the Chapel of the Bells in South Lake Tahoe, California, after only 45 days of knowing one another. We had only kissed once and had never had sex before we said our marriage vows. Our marriage began as our way of moving off base so we could hold on to what we could feel was growing between us. Our marriage was something we treated lightly during the first few months; we were friends playing house.

By October 31, 1998 it had become extremely clear that there was something powerfully healing that bonded us on top of the easy friendship that filled our lives with laughter and our sexual attraction. As time passed, circumstances beyond our control and many of the choices we made together and as individuals tested our marriage; we passed test after test. Passing these many tests over the last fourteen years has etched different dates in our memory that mean to us just as much as our wedding anniversary and October 31, 1998.

A lot of people look at the love we now share, a love that is stronger now than ever before, a love that is filled with hope, a love that is vibrant and shiny and easy and comfortable and everything that many people want and these people say…

You’re so lucky!

Well, we are lucky that at the young age of 21 we against all strange odds were paired up to clean dorms together for a week. We are lucky that we both agreed to do the craziest dumbest smart thing in the world by marrying one another just 45 days later. We are lucky that the Celestial Planning Committee made it so that we were together on October 31, 1998 so that we could realize that an easy friendship and laughter meant more to us than anything else at that time (and it still does). We are lucky in many regards but luck has never been what has kept us together.

there’s no reason to stay together if you can’t forgive

In my fourteen year relationship I have forgiven and I have been forgiven.

We would say that we forgave one another, we would make an attempt to move forward yet we would still not feel healed, we wouldn’t completely move forward and nothing would be resolved. It was as if one event started to make the relationship go sour, we forgave yet an unspoken baby elephant became the third member of our relationship, then time, bad choices, revenge, and each disappointment fed that elephant until eventually we became so used to feeding it that we stopped nourishing our love. The elephant sitting between us was huge; what was left of our love was tiny and starving.

This happens to many couples even though the circumstances that caused them and the new problems we face are different. It is so easy to have our perfect love crush us, pull the rug from underneath us, terribly disappoint us and/or completely destroy our trust. When that happens we often look back wondering was I intoxicated by romantic love so much that I did not see this person clearly but you did see them; it was that time had not yet given them enough opportunity to fail you. Almost everyone we love from parents and siblings to spouses and children to friends and business associates will disappoint us if given enough time and opportunity.

We know that people aren’t perfect and that they will at one time or another do something that causes us to hurt but why can’t we forgive when they do?

After all the hurt in my relationship I had to learn that to truly move forward forgiveness was about more than saying it or wanting it to be true. Giving someone another chance involves accepting that the person you love and have created a life with is capable of disappointing you again.

during rough times have more sex

Hard times, problems and stress are things that we can’t avoid forever. We all eventually go through times that are rougher than others, we all have problems that corner us, and we all have our stress limits. These things are universal but how we cope with them varies from person to person. For many avoiding sex while they are going through rough times is standard. It is easy to put off intimacy and avoid being sexual with our partners when we have real life problems attacking us from all sides. Sex doesn’t seem that important when you’ve been laid off, when there’s barely any money in the bank or when you aren’t sure if you’ll be able to make all your bills this month. I have known this kind of stress and too often I’ve fallen back on worry instead of falling into my partner’s arms.

At times when stress levels reach maximum overload our sex drives slow down.

There isn’t a person among us that can’t say that at one time in their life they’ve completely lost their sexual appetite due to dealing with life’s problems – if it didn’t go away it at least slowed down or was ignored. Our sex drives are meant to push us towards having procreation sex not recreational sex which is why we instinctively find it easy to avoid intimacy and sex when life is turbulent.

We are programmed machines that know that the last thing we need and desire is bringing a child into a world in which we are barely managing. Our bodies shut down that side of us and it is too easy to say, “Sex just isn’t that important right now. I’ve got a lot bigger things to worry about.” We are programmed machines but thank heavens that these days we can control our procreative powers therefore we don’t need to shut down our sex drives. Ever.