This blog post was originally written two years ago for another blog I used to guest write for. My heart desires to share it with you now. Sat Nam.
“I can tell by your knees that you don’t have much sex lately.”
I said, “Why? Because they’re so close together?”
She laughed. “No –it’s the cartilage. Very dry. Hormones from sex lubricate the joints. How long since sex for you?”
“About a year and a half.”
“You need a good man. I will find one for you. I will pray at the temple for a good man for you, because you are my sister...” (Elizabeth Gilbert. Eat Pray Love.)
In my experience most people view celibacy as peculiar, a punishment, a means to cleanse or as Gilbert notes, dry and something that requires prayer. One day over lunch with my girlfriends I said, “I’m going to be celibate for a year!” I was being predominantly sarcastic but something inside of me glittered with recognition. I had verbally started to manifest the course of my life but I didn’t yet know the profound influence it would have on me and my journey to self-love. Celibacy has enhanced my experiences regarding self-validation, relationships, and spirituality.
At this point you may be asking why I chose to make this vow. It started over a year ago, albeit without my knowledge, when I ended a very volatile relationship. As the old adage goes, a drowning man cannot save a drowning man – and both of us were drowning. I was holding on to issues from my past and so was he – both of us looking for completion in the other. Even though I ended the relationship, I carried the baggage around with me to the next one, never getting too close, and again the cycle continued. When this relationship ended, I took a good look at the patterns I was creating in my life. The first step is taking responsibility. I thought back to my seemingly unconscious thought to be celibate and I made a decision.
Have you ever really thought about the relationship you have with yourself? Where do most of your thoughts come from? Are they positive? Negative? Do you scold yourself with words your parents used? Are you beautiful this week because someone reminded you? If you are, that’s OK – you are human. As humans, we take the external cues from the outside world and we use them to validate ourselves and our actions. Cooley and Mead coined this term the Looking-Glass-Self. In sociology, this is the idea where we see ourselves through the eyes of other people – either present or imagined – and incorporate their views into our self-concept. Who we are then is determined, at least in part, by the external audience we have in mind. Does this sound familiar? We are constantly comparing ourselves to others. We introduce ourselves based on what we do for a living or if we are married or dating and we relentlessly look for satisfaction in our daily lives – whether that is through food, sex, or whatever else ‘feels good’ right now! I did the same thing. I’m still working on it. I’m not suggesting not doing things that make you feel good. I am suggesting being conscious of why you are making the decision you are making. It has been fascinating to observe what happens when one of the basic human drives that influence behaviour is removed. As you can guess, your behaviour starts to change.
I looked for attention and validation from others at first. How could I not, I had been doing that my whole life. The beginning was tough. I can remember coming home after a night out and crying because I felt so alone. My Ego repeatedly tried to scare me into thinking I’d go on alone forever if I didn’t break this silly little vow – her words, not mine. Her voice would say things like, “You’re shutting off the energy to meet your person!” or “Think of all the experiences you are missing out on!” – knowing just how to play me. Sometimes the Ego would use trickery in the form of a dream, elusive but lucid, reminding me of past romance. The first six months were extremely difficult as I fought with this voice. Then it got easier. I started to take myself more serious and I began validating myself every day. I would look in the mirror and say positive affirmations. I have inspiring words written all over my house. If I was out I would repeat them and soon enough I began to have a love affair with myself. The company is great. We like the same documentaries; we care about culture, and music and art. We love to travel and experience different foods. We are perfect, whole, and complete – and we are One. I’ve been spiritual my whole life but I never learnt how to validate myself until I shut out the noise from the outside and looked inward to find answers. I went back to the Source, where all of the answers reside in you – patiently waiting for you to ask.
It has been a beautiful experience to witness how my relationships have changed during this time. By being authentic I have attracted some very creative like-minded individuals – my old friendships have flourished as well. Because I’m not wondering if some boy thinks I’m cute, hoping that true love will find me based on my outfit choice, I’m free to be present in each conversation, each smile, each laugh, and each hug. This experience has taught me many things, all of which are mine to take with me forever, and the most critical lesson it has taught me is how I can make myself happy. You must fight for your happiness. Elizabeth Gilbert notes, “I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” I have surrendered to her last statement, making it my mantra.
Since my energy is free to focus on myself I have also had the benefit of increased union with other realms. My dreams symbolisms create a deeper understanding of the world around me and my protection in it. I am opening up chakras and taking charge of my happiness. Because of this renewed sense of peace I am kinder to myself, more patient, more loving and more open-minded. My journey won’t be yours. I’m not suggesting that celibacy is the only way to find inner joy, in fact I think relationships bring to the surface a breadth of knowledge about who you are; the point is that as a society we are addicted to a lot of things – sex is one of them. The real joy comes from loving thyself and as a by-product all of your relationships will be harmonious. You will begin to attract people in vibrational alignment to you and there is power in that. You are a gentle soul – go forth with faith. And always follow the pathless forestial landscape of your own heart.