Been a While…

The Dark PoolThe Dark Pool by Monika Carless

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about book reviews that I’m sure I do not hold alone. I read many different books from various gendres. If I begin to read a book and am not into it, what does that mean? Does it mean the same as reading a book that is pure shite? NO.
This is not a rant.

There are some books that are written in a style that has yet to generate a gendre. It could be a sub-gendre, no matter. This book, The Dark Pool, by Monika Carless is one of them. If you are used to reading fluff erotica or Penthouse Forum, then maybe stay to that… this book is in an entirely different league! I believe that a general gendre does not yet exist that this work could sensually slide into. Putting it ‘status quo’ under the vast umbrella of ‘Erotica’ is a protocol, yet an injustice. This series of books (there will be more!) will grow it’s own tribe of like minded souls and will be powerfully connected to the creation of a new gendre of writing.

I believe that I have become a member of that tribe… by compelling choice! I did not merely read this book, I lived every syllable, every intonation, travelled to those places in my dreams… I am certain that I am not the only one to ‘experience’ Monika’s work in this way! The love, passion and life with which Monika magikally infuses her words mandates the greatest high a reader could ever expect! The incredible intensity of the ache of desire to read more is almost numbing…

The Dark Pool is not some trite, sex-fluff material to be used to masturbate in a closet. That’s why we have material like Penthouse Forum, etc. There is a need and a place for all. Indeed, The Dark Pool is a culmination of lifetimes of relationships, magik, intense loves on a soul level, a deep non-conventional exploration of ‘forbidden’ human sensuality and sexuality. Reading Monika’s work allows us to experience all of these things on a different level. This book is so real it will have you examining your own life, sexuality and level of existence. Take a risk… put aside your trepidations… for an instant cut the shackles and chains that bind you to the altars of convention, and slide sensually into the depths of The Dark Pool yourself… dare you, you may become a member of the tribe!

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The 21st Century Holy Grail

The Holy Grail historically has been the cup that ‘is said to have been used by Jesus’ to give eternal life. Many groups and individuals have sought after this coveted cup for centuries. After all, eternal life would solve many of the challenges that we face as mortal human beings, and to think of the power that this cup would bring! Wars would be rampant as those who drank of the cup would be immortal – no harm could come to them! World dominance would be the quest… not sure about you, but world dominance is not my gig at all! There is however a different Holy Grail, one that truly affects all of us here and now in the 21st Century.

The vast majority of us are not out to rule the world. We are simply doing our best to get by day-to-day and make the most of the life that we are living. We have jobs, a home, possibly a partner, children, a pet and even some friends. We possibly take some time each month to visit with family and share in our successful management of our lives. At some point though I became disillusioned with where I was in life. I became restless and thoughts that there must be more to life and living invaded my mind. Things seem out of kilter, sometimes even sideways. There is an alternative and very relevant definition of the term Holy Grail:

“Holy Grail: something that you want very much but that is very hard to get or achieve” Merriam/Webster 2016.

This is where I would like to propose that there is a Holy Grail that is much more significant to most of us than the possibility of eternal life, one that applies more measurably to the masses in the 21st century. It is called Balance!

Balance: “a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance” Merriam/Webster 2016

Lets examine the concept of balance from a broad based perspective, right down to the micro scale of human existence. I found that balance is indeed very necessary for a happy, healthy, prosperous human existence. There were many aspects of my own life that were incredibly out of balance.

On a grand scale, over the past 50 some-odd years I have been to both very distant ends of the spectrum of living. I have been wealthy to the point of not needing at all, and have also been destitute and homeless without a penny. I must honestly admit that throughout that spectrum I was always quite distant from what one would describe as happy, healthy or prosperous. I was indeed very far removed from what one may call balanced. It had nothing to do with the amount of wealth I had or did not have.

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The balance…

Why balance? Realistically, our entire existence relies on this one factor. Belief lies in the experience. The simplest form of balance for us to witness is physical. Stand on one foot. If you are balanced you remain standing. One reflex that leads to an imbalanced state and you tip over. Physical balance can also be less visible when it is inside the human body. Here our entire physical well-being depends on a state of balance: proper nutrients, the right amount of water, the correct amount of red and white blood cells… the list is extensive. When one or a combination of these elements is out of balance, we experience that scenario as being sick. It is not until a state of balance or equilibrium has been reached once again that we indeed feel well. Often we hear or read media bulletins on varying effects of certain foods or drinks on our bodies. “A glass of red wine a day is healthy”. What if I misinterpret this and understand, ‘drinking red wine is good for me’! Now I go ahead and drink a bottle of red wine or more a day… I have exceeded balance and the effect may indeed be not so positive.

There is also spiritual balance in our lives. Simplistically, too far to the light side or the dark side and we encounter serious spiritual challenges and repercussions.

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious” Carl Jung

If we deny our dark side and focus only on the light, we become imbalanced as a soul. We all have some aspect of darkness in our lives. I denied mine for years and did my best to forget, disown, bury and annihilate it. I was imbalanced and could not be the person I truly am without accepting all of that person first! Conversely, if we focus only on our dark side we become just as imbalanced in the opposite way. Meditation encourages us to focus on a balanced state in our minds. Yoga encourages us to focus on a balanced state in our bodies. Our belief model, if we choose to have one, encourages us to create this spiritual balance in our minds.

Relationships also rely on the elusive concept of balance. Try and have a fantastic relationship by focusing only on sex. The sex may be awesome for a while, but with only that aspect receiving focus the actual relationship won’t last. Another vital aspect of a balanced relationship is good communication. Great communication itself entails a balance of listening and speaking or expressing ones self. This applies to personal and interpersonal relationships equally. Whether you communicate verbally, by touch, in writing or through social media there must be a balance of expression and true listening for it to be sustainable. Essentially, there must be equilibrium in give and take.

Pulling this all together now is the challenge. It’s an enormous task to focus on becoming balanced in all aspects of our lives. An old saying revolves around the hypothetical question, “how does one eat an elephant?”… the answer, “one bite at a time”. If we attempt to focus on all aspects of balance in our lives at one time we will essentially freak out and crash. I have managed to get two or three aspects of my life in balance but then have had setbacks where I am desperately hanging on to one balanced part of my life with all I’ve got! I don’t have a clear answer. This is why I believe that true, all-encompassing life balance is the new Holy Grail. It is the greatest challenge that we each, individually, face. Here’s to continuing to work on Balance!

Peter Lerch, Writer/Photographer

 

 

Exposing Love…

Exposing the truth about something can be painful. Most of us are already in pain over this concept, this one word: Love.

If we reference a dictionary we get this:

Love: “a feeling of strong and constant affection for a person”, “an attraction that includes sexual desire: the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship”. (Mirriam-Webster, 2016)

Not really the deeper answer we were looking for yet many of us stop right there, settle-for, and spend countless hours secretly musing that there truly must be more. There is. Please don’t stop believing in love!

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In order to stop believing in something we must choose to do so. If we truly knew what love could be we may choose to believe in it. Most of us are not blessed with a true understanding of the concept of love and what getting there involves. We choose to either believe in what we have settled-for, or not to believe in love at all. Wait.
It was not so many years ago that I chose not to believe in love. My idea of love was jaded and one-sided. Truly, I had no idea what love was or what it could be. I did have a big ego, poor self-esteem and rolled in and out of depression like restless waves in the ocean. When it came right down to it I was a very difficult, miserable person to be with. I left my marriage of 15 years, my job as a tenured high school teacher and threw myself headfirst into the blackness that I had somehow chosen to become my life. Over the next few years I emotionally hit the wall. I subsequently lost everything including my own self-dignity and crashed hard into the emotional abyss. How did I get here? Nobody loves me…

Insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. (A. Einstein)

Somehow while wallowing around in self-pity I had gleaned that everything is a choice. At that instant I made the conscious decision to seek change and embarked on a journey which almost 10 years later has transformed my entire being. I am now very deeply in love and in a very loving relationship. Many beautiful people have touched my life along that journey, each leaving a gentle scar on the tapestry of my heart, my very soul. Lets’ take a deeper look at understanding the raw dynamics of love and loving.

If we gather the intuition to allow us to understand who we are, then love truly transcends this lifetime as we begin to recall important qualities from other times, other lives, other loves. We become fascinated by how deep the ‘rabbit hole’ of love goes. And so, with self, begins the quest for a deeper understanding!

Love is not something that one pokes a stick at.

It begins with each of us individually. Understanding love requires strength, determination, great compassion, empathy and the ability to be very humble. It’s hard, rewarding work. Down the rabbit hole then! Lets examine what love can be.

A starting point is to go back to our beginnings and re-connect with the love we must have for our selves, for us. When we can stand naked and truly love the reflection in the mirror, we are ready. Now we may move forward and create different results! Only then are we ready to focus on loving someone else. Love in a personal relationship exists in a reciprocal state. If our state of love for ourselves is solid, we will be able to truly give and receive a much more intense love to others than we may have ever thought possible. Man, woman, no matter!

An understanding of gender-roles is imperative. The feminine and masculine are truly interchangeable within each of us and have little to do with ones own birth gender. Many people have issues with this in their relationship(s), believing that one person must always be the feminine, and the other always the masculine. We are intrinsically both and should exhibit the beautiful qualities of both freely throughout our lives. The puzzle is coming together.

The Ego has no place in love. Why bring that up here? Because, if ego controls love, it destroys… and we end up once again in that forlorn place doubting that love even exists. Practice being humble, forgiving, empathic and loving. Not being a doormat, simply being a beautiful human being. Be genuinely grateful for you. No, not stuck-up or full of yourself, that’s ego driven. Yes, it is about truly loving ourselves first. It’s hard work to manifest personal change – but oh so rewarding!

Lets’ believe that love dwells within a variety of mediums: chaos, spontaneity, truth, honesty, sensuality, trust, sexuality, friendship, the ability to truly listen, empathy, the ability to yield with trust, curiosity, respect, equality and pain to list a few. How many of these qualities do we each possess? Are our own qualities true, non-judgemental, unconditional and non-injurious by intent? How many of these true qualities does our partner possess? Is that balanced between partners? Will both evolve and stay in love, or do they begin to travel different paths. Why does the intensity of loves flame begin to whither?

Each person’s raw, no fluff, contribution to the relationship will determine its eventual outcome. What are you giving? Examine that and be honest in your conclusions. What is your partner giving? Light some candles, pop the cork on a good bottle of wine and speak with each other. Is it possible to have an honest, open conversation about what each can offer, and what each wants? Is what was mutually laid on the table conducive to love or destructive? Such open, honest discussion can lead to choices, realizations and conclusions. Realizing the potential for deeper love and understanding is just as important as comprehending that our partner is on a different path, a path that may go entirely somewhere else! We’re not done yet!

Every love we have ever encountered on our life journey left an imprint, a scar on our hearts, minds and souls. Those scars are all still there. Some are painful and allow us to choose what we don’t want. Some were always delicious, awesome and the reason we chose to be that way. Close your eyes and allow your heart and soul to take your mind back to those beautiful scars. These timeless memories are each unique for all of us and collectively are what truly define our own personal experience of love. This is our book of wants and desires.

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“Love is something we draw on from the beginning of Earth. The initial impulse of love and all the loves that have ever been, all reside within us and if we can tap into the rawness of that, we can find our way with the lover we have chosen.” (Monika Carless)

There is great significance in channelling all of the loves that have been, that we have ever been a part of. In order to effectively do this we must come to terms with everything that has been discussed. “What steps can I take?”

Truly love the self and let go of Ego’s control over life. Choosing to be humble, open and vulnerable will allow us to experience an entirely different dimension of love. Be mindful to avoid confusing the willing absence of Ego with weakness! We have now chosen to do things differently. We have chosen different paths, people and devices to affect a different outcome and are monumentally closer to an outcome that will re-define love in our mind, heart and soul. It will redefine love in our life.

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Today I am so very deeply in love. Mia is my best friend, a soul mate, my intense lover and my partner. We both made similar choices on our own years ago that eventually led us to each other. All of the things discussed so far apply and we have given much focus to continue to evolve in our love for self and for each other. Our ‘rabbit hole’ has many tunnels and many openings. Above all we have learned to fully enjoy the journey!

The combined loves of our lifetimes will lead to an understanding of the love that can be. The first and most difficult step lies in making an honest assessment of ones self. Make the choice. Make the changes needed to be free, to experience what love truly can be! Our rabbit hole will go as deep as we are willing to work at lovingly digging it! We begin to attract like-minded souls and then our lives feel like they are just beginning! Go, get ready to expose your love!

Much love.

Peter Lerch, Writer/Photographer

Relationship Speak

“I love you”, means…

The ability to actually, truly listen transcends even our perceived limits of the deaf. Yet truly listening seems to be an elusive character trait prevalent in only a small percentage of human population.

Listen: “to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, sung, played, etc”,“to hear what someone has said and understand that it is serious, important or true”. (Mirriam-Webster, 2016)

Lets imagine that we do have the ability to truly listen for just a day! With that ability lets focus on what we hear in a typical day of being in close proximity to a multitude of different people. In order to make a much more personal point, lets focus on hearing the words, “I love you”, or even just, “love you”. Each time we hear these words spoken by someone lets focus much harder and also observe what transpires immediately before, during and after we hear these words. Why?

Hollow: “an empty space inside of something” (Mirriam-Webster, 2016)

The words we speak can be ‘hollow’ in the sense that they are empty or devoid of any true meaning. Just something that leaves our lips in an audible tone as our minds already race elsewhere and our focus lies far down the path of our day.

In my neighbourhood I have observed and heard, “love you” being yelled over a shoulder as an afterthought to a significant other. In observing the scene more closely tears flooded my eyes. The recipient of those hollow words stood in an open doorway visibly longing for eye contact, for those words to be spoken lovingly with meaning and validity. One hand clung to the door, the other waived at a partners disappearing back. A facial expression exposed the desperate wanting for those words, “love you” to transition in a deliciously passionate kiss, for that feeling to fill the day with joy. Not so. This observation was not an anomaly. Why does this happen? Do we not sense the underlying emotion silently screaming desolation?

IMG_1562We are programmed, almost hard-wired, by society our jobs our education to run, produce, focus on the future, forecast, predict, plan… our every-day lives place incredible pressures on us to conform. Genuine, loving communication requires focus and commitment. Do we have any of that left by the time we return home to our partner! We must dig deep down and contribute to the dualistic nature of relationships. Our partner ‘won’t care how much we know unless they first know how much we care’. Do they truly know? Or is that something we now simply assume and take for granted.

Effective communication involves all of our senses combined with body language and spoken words. Paramount is the ability to truly listen as well. Deaf people know that they can listen with their eyes and other senses! Conversely, the way we speak, how we use all of our senses of expression will have a profound effect on the message being delivered. If what’s said is focused, genuine and carries substance, a person truly listening will not only hear but will receive that with all of their senses! Often our body language speaks more loudly and clearly than the words leaving our lips. Combining all of that can take communication to an entirely different level!

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What if the scene I witnessed earlier was different. What if there was a genuine focus on communicating. What if the words spoken were not hollow?

“Love you”, he almost growled with lust in his eyes as he leaned in for a kiss that would certainly last a day. Passion flared, soft hugs exchanged and the lingering scent of patchouli wrapped itself around her like a warm blanket. She watched his form disappear down the walk and waved lovingly as he turned to blow one more kiss in her direction mouthing the words, “I love you babe”. This is most certainly communication filled with genuine substance. A stark contrast to the hollow words witnessed earlier. I want to be in this relationship, I am!

The difference is a sharp focus on merely seconds out of our day yet the lasting effect of endorphins and pure joy is hours. It truly is focusing on and choosing to live in each moment as it unfolds. The choice to be in love is ours. Unless we choose to communicate in a loving effective way our partner may come across someone else who does. If we leave it at that the love will eventually dry up and whither in the winds of change. The choice to be deliciously in a love that gives, takes and flourishes is also ours. That involves being present, living precious moments to their fullest. It requires relationship speak with loving intent, a focus on truly caring about what we say, how we say it, what we hear, how we hear it and making each moment one that we have consciously chosen to live.

Does your love feel desolate? When we focus on examining our relationships, communication should be one of the first qualities under the microscope. This one quality encompasses so much more than simply speaking and listening. Know now that it includes all of the human senses and truly can be tantric as well. One must not always speak to be heard in a loving, compassionate and caring relationship.

My partner and I often share the same space for hours without audibly speaking. Body language, facial expressions, blown kisses, gestures and touch all combine in some of the most awesome communication we have ever experienced. Our relationship speak has become a precious quality that we focus on and practice all the time. We have been together eight years and have chosen not to ‘fight’. Sure, we have had arguments and passionate conversations. Our ability to effectively communicate with one another transcends the need to ‘fight’. Living the moment has become fantastically important. What we choose to communicate within those moments has also become precious.

Care about what you speak and what you speak will care about others. So tomorrow is another day, it will begin with another morning. If I were watching quietly, what would I hear, what would I observe as you left your home to get on with your day?

Much Love,

Peter Lerch, Writer/Photographer

*All photos are copyright of Peter Lerch Photography and may be used by written permission only.