New Zine! Staying with feelings

A topic I’ve written about on here quite a lot is the idea of ‘staying with’ feelings. After the Pixar movie Inside Out I wrote all about how important it is to get in touch with all our emotions. I’ve also written about the value of noticing how we feel with kindness and curiosity, and about how to stay with other people’s feelings.


In this new zine I discuss both why we get so shut off from our feelings in a wider culture which values some emotions far more highly than others, and how we can go about shifting our patterns of avoiding and fighting some feelings, and craving and grasping for others. It covers both therapeutic and spiritual practices for staying with our emotions.


You can download or read the zine here.


What can we all learn about sex from The Sessions?

I urge you to go and see the movie, The Sessions, which is currently out in cinemas. Not only is this a quietly beautiful and uplifting film about life and love, alienation and connection, in the same vein as another favourite of mine, The Station Agent, it also has a lot to offer on the topic of sex.

The Sessions

The film, based on an autobiographical essay On Seeing a Sex Surrogate, follows Mark O’Brien (played by John Hawkes) as he attempts to find a sexual relationship. At 38, Mark has had to spend most of his life in an iron lung since having polio as a child and is only able to be outside of the machine for two or three hours at a stretch, still lying on a gurney and reliant on his mouth for typing or making phonecalls, and on paid carers to move him around.


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Racism and attraction

Very thoughtful post over on Peril about race and attraction. It covers gendered racial stereotypes in mainstream movies, whether race is an acceptable exclusion criteria on dating and hook-up sites, and how racism can play out through such cultures. It also raises an interesting point that attractions to anyone outside the current white, young, thin, non-disabled, gender-normative body ideal are regarded as a fetish (when attraction to those ideals is not).

This touches on something that I explore in Rewriting the Rules about how attraction is often regarded as ‘natural’ and unchanging. It is considered acceptable that we have certain ‘types’. But in a culture where attractiveness ideals are increasingly narrow, excluding many in ways which reflect and reinforce patterns of privilege and oppression, might it be useful to challenge this: to consider how our attractions are influenced by wider culture, and to explore practices which might open up our conceptions of beauty and attractiveness rather than closing them down?