Body, Mind, Flower Connection
The little sashays of life and sensual learning are most interesting. A bit of background: just 30 minutes ago I answered an ongoing brainstorm about sexy flowers with the superb Scottish photographer of erotic (and just pretty, too) flowers Kate Scott, with my Sensually Yours reverie: I Love Samantha but Barbarella in the Excessive Machine Is More My Style.
Simply stated, Kate Scott and I could be dangerous together; no doubt about it.
My Healer Ellen Gayda
Last Friday, I went to see my Philadelphia bodyhealer and massage therapist Ellen Gayda, who has been treating me for a seriously disabling gym injury that went improperly diagnosed for months -- until Ellen laid her hands on my body.
A dislocated pubic bone isn't high on the list of typical gym injuries but one more likely in pregnant or post-delivery women. For month I've been working on the symptoms but not problem, until Ellen's fingers made a thorough examination of my pelvic region, said 'this won't hurt a bit', snapping me back into shape with a crackle and pop.
For the last month, Ellen and my chiropractor have been whipping me back into shape with huge success. I am correct in saying my chiro is amazed at the progress, but Ellen says I have a very responsive body -- whatever that means -- making her pleased but also expecting good results.
Ellen is trained in Taoist massage and grounded in concepts of 'Chi' or life force energy. 'Ching' is our sexual energy, our creative energy, our generative energy. It is also been called 'principal energy' because it is essential for carrying out the functions of the body. The Ching energy converts into life-force energy for the organs, which is called 'Chi'.
I can't remember the precise question that triggered an avalanche of emotion with Ellen last Friday, nor would I share it with the general public, at least not in this column. For the record, we never go to the massage table.
Ellen's newsletter was focused last Friday on the concept of body armor, which is somewhat different that your typical Freudian analysis about repression but also strongly related. It's easy to think of children growing older, becoming teens then young adults.
With each year that goes by, it's easy to make a suit of armor out of our bodies. We don't feel anymore; we're not connected to the sensuality of living -- from smelling the roses to enjoying a roll in freshly-mowed hay. Often we use weight, as another form of body armor -- one that deals with sensual guilt, religious finger-wagging about female sexuality and a host of other reasons to go undercover, especially when we are women.
In my own journey to self-love, I felt quite attuned to the idea of using calories and fat not necessarily to withdraw from life, but to do everything possible to disguise my sexuality. If after that, I was still sexually desireable, well it's just not my fault. I've fallen behind in sharing this journey in AOC Superyoung but I changed my outlook on all of these subjects in 2004.
On Friday afternoon, a young woman from Atlanta April Malone commented for the first time on my FB wall. Before long, we were in a discussion on body armor -- one not prompted by me. In response to her comments, I asked her if she had ever read the works of Wilhelm Reich.
She said 'no' but by Saturday, ---- came back to me with an original commentary about Wilhelm Reich and body armor -- the precise topic of Ellen's newsletter and my session with her on Friday.
I hadn't considered Wilhelm Reich and body armor, being more focused on his belief in orgone energy, a primal, cosmic life force energy that flows through human beings and can be measured. Sure enough Wilhelm Reich -- like Ellen Gayda -- was very focused on physical problems in our body that are related to this suit of armor we tend to wear as adult human beings.
Human Body Armor
Note that Ellen has a host of very body-focused, muscle-healing techniques that she employs to first unlock frozen muscles and then teach them to be looser and freer, healthy while still providing solid infrastructure support.
In Reich's words, muscular armor is:
The sum total of the muscular attitudes (chronic muscular spasms) which an individual develops as a block against the breakthrough of emotions and organ sensations, in particular anxiety, rage, and sexual excitation.
Reich's definition of character armor is very similar:
The sum total of typical character attitudes which an individual develops as a blocking against his emotional excitations, resulting in rigidity of the body, lack of emotional contact, and “deadness.” Functionally identical with the muscular armor.
Back to Barbarella and the Excessive Machine, I remembered Wilhelm Reich's own box, which served to measure orgone energy in humans and eventually got a disgraced Wilhelm Reich thrown in jail and labeled a quack. In America, his papers were burned as being a travesty against religion and morality.
This four-day round robin of interrelated, unprompted conversations is common in my life, and I've learned to just go with the connected-dots flow.
Sexuality & Mental Illness
Perhaps for this reason, I didn't blow off the PR Web release for J Michael Mahoney's new book 'Could Mental Illness Link to One's Sexuality?' The self-published book is written on the premise that mental illness is not only linked to one's sexuality and the disease we call 'szichophrenia' but that represented sexuality -- and especially severe unconscious bisexual conflict and gender confusion lies as the root of all mental illness.'
I'm not touching that assertion with a 10-foot pole, but I admit that it's an intriguing premise. It's difficult for me to believe that all mental illness is reduced to a single cause, but the role of repressed sexuality in emotional and mental illness, physical atrophying of the body and muscular, skeletal problems associated with the body armor effect are legitimate areas for research.
Arthur Elgort Women
Minutes ago, I finished writing a synthesis of several common 'from fashion to flogging' themes at AOC.
I admit to being annoyed at looking at an ensemble case of vacuous stare models with the word 'Heroine' next to their names, on the September 2011 cover of Numero 126.
Fashion designers and I may still be in armored conflict over the downsizing of models from 4-6 US to 0, but I'll not sit idly by while the word heroine is co-opted for these same women -- with no explanation of their credentials for being bestowed the honor.
There are activist models of every age, but I doubt this is the winning cast of women. Bottom line, heroine is a word I take seriously and I'll not hand it over to the king of fashion monasticism Mr. Lagerfeld. I could close out this post right now, and ignore that fact that a new biography is out on Wilhelm Reich has just been published: Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America by Christopher Turner.
Seeing the spotty review record on Amazon, I initially assumed that the social conservatives were all over Reich, but it's actually Reich's own followers who is upset with Turner's tome. In the comments is a lot of suggested reading on Wilhelm Reich, links that I will be checking.
At the end of this meandering three hours of posts, emails to Kate, and embrace of strong, Arthur Elgort women, it occurs to me that today's fashion puts women in a straightjacket.
Re.treat collection by Una Burke Wearable Art Sculptures AOC Private Studio
The revered McQueen designed dresses so tight that models fainted on the runway -- a reality check that's not intended to discredit him in any way. I've written several times that the fashion movement that I call fashion monasticism is one designed to reduce women to size 0, suppressing their sensual power and identity as strong women.
It's also true that today's clothes aren't designed for movement in most cases. This is because today's fashion women are comparatively unathletic, except for the model pony gait they muster up for each season's shows. I wonder if we would see significant differences in models' runway walks, since the arrival of fashion monasticism.
What fascinating notions, the idea that today's clothes are another form of body armor. I'll not press it just now but consider it a possibility. I wonder what the Taoist body healers would think about Wilhelm Reich and also fashion monasticism.
In fact, they just might approve, given the element of restraint in Chinese culture. Yet, I see so much movement in Chinese culture -- tai chi in the streets in early morning. I suspect the Tao masters would embrace Wilhelm Reich before Karl Lagerfeld, but I might be wrong. To be determined . . . Anne