Episode 73: Chip August with Some Great Shows from this Past Year
Every guest teaches me something. After more than 70 shows, some of those lessons have become deeply lodged in my psyche. In this episode I talk about 10 of my favorite guests from the past year or so, reviewing the lessons these guests taught me, and reminding you, listeners of some terrific interviews. Listen in as I talk about great moments from interviews with Alison Armstrong, Susan Campbell, Brian Swimme, Mary Roach, Esther Perel, Gay Hedricks, Celeste Hirschman & Danielle Harel, Byron Katie, Toni Bentley, and Daphne Rose Kingma. And don't miss the exercise for you and your New Years resolutions.
This program is intended for mature audiences only.
Sex, Love and Intimacy is sponsored by Audible: classics, bestsellers, business books. Download your free audio book from over forty thousand titles, sign up for your risk free trial at audiblepodcast.com/love. Join today: cancel any time in the first two weeks and keep your free book as your free gift. You're going to love being an Audible listener.
Chip August: Welcome to Sex, Love and Intimacy, I'm your host Chip August and today on the show I am going to do a little year end 'wrap up'. I am going to review some of the program's that I have done this year that taught me powerful lessons and left me with lots of things to think about. I will be talking a little bit about some of the lessons that I have learned from Esther Perel, from Susan Campbell, from Byron Katie, from my interviews with Toni Bentley, Brian Swimme, Daphne Rose Kingma, from Celeste and Danielle, from Alison Armstrong, Mary Roach and also Gay Hendriks.
As you listen to the show and as you notice that you're interested in any of these things that they said why don't you go back and listen to the whole interview. So let's just get started with the year end 'Wrap up'. The place I am going to start is with Esther Perot: I loved talking to Esther Perel. She wrote a book called 'Mating in Captivity' and she really talked about the conflict between domesticity and eroticism. What she noticed was that people came to her office again and again loving each other, caring, having a relationship but noticing that their sexuality was devoid of eroticism and noticing that their desire was gone. And she came to see that we need to find a way to bring the wildness back into relationship. As she says it: 'while love seeks closeness, desire seeks space to thrive' and it began to occur to her that greater intimacy doesn't guarantee good sex. That love flourishes in an atmosphere of mutuality and reciprocity and protection, but eroticism thrives in an area of unselfconsciousness and freedom. That desire is about freedom and so often what we expect, what we put on a relationship actually stops us from having desire and it was just a fascinating interview. Esther believes really strongly amongst other things in what she calls: 'the shadow of the third'. Now it wasn't so much about if she was going to be in an open relationship or non-open relationship, exclusive or exclusive; what she talked about the erotic power of jealousy and the erotic power of fantasy and the erotic power of the fascination and the freedom and the intimation of freedom and it just so supported for me the idea that if we practice being alive and sexy all the time then the thing we will get really good at is being alive and sexy all the time.
Earlier in the year I did an interview with Susan Campbell. I loved talking to Susan Campbell. If you haven't listened to that interview, go back and listen to that interview. Susan Campbell is a psychologist who wrote a couple of books, but one of my favorite: she wrote a book called 'Truth and Dating: finding love by getting real' and she just was so direct about the power of telling the truth. I asked her at one point in the interview, I said: “so, how do you start a relationship in the truth” and she said: “well, what if on the first date you said something like you know, we're getting to know each other and I want my dating to feel like I am becoming friends with the people that I date. I want to be able to feel as comfortable with a date as I do with my friends. So, to that end I want us to look at the question of would we tell each other if we did something that was offensive or would we just hold it inside the way most people do on dates, they just hold stuff inside. Like, even the question of bad breath you know. Would you want to know if I thought your breath was offensive?” And I thought wow that wold be great, could you imagine if you started each new relationship in your life, could you imagine if you started each relationship, whether it be a friendship or a working relationship or a lover relationship, by sitting with that person and saying: 'I'm a person who tells the truth, I'm practicing telling the truth in my life, I want to know if you are interested in telling the truth. Are you willing to tell me what you think and feel like you would tell your best friends and would you be willing to hear from me about what I think and feel, like I would tell me best friends, because I am really clear that if my best friends breath was strong I wouldn't have any trouble just whispering in their ear 'I think you need to take a breath mint or something'.
I thought that this was a really powerful idea; truth in dating instead of pretending to be somebody we're not and hoping that somehow or other, the person that we are with will fall in love with the person that we really are even though we are pretending to be somebody that we are not. Susan's radical idea was that you can learn to just be yourself, you can present yourself, be yourself and in the process of being yourself the person that you are with is going to fall in love with the real you and you are going to meet and fall in love with the real them. And I just think that this is a powerful idea that we don't have to pretend, we don't have to lie. Now I know that a lot of us have low self esteem, I know that for a lot of us that this is a really risky behavior. But I also know from my own life experience that relationships that are grounded in the truth and which are committed to the truth are relationships which transcend the test of time. So, go back and have a listen to Susan Campbell, it is a really fun interview.
Quite recently I did an interview with Byron Katie. I really liked talking to Katie, because Katie is a person who came out of a really, really deep depression, like a ten year depression, by systematically really examining the power that her thoughts were having over her and she really synthesized her work down to four simple questions. I love this because I believe that there is a very strong relationship between our thoughts and our feelings. I am not a person who is much for analysis, I am a person who is for behavior changes and for thought changes. If I am not loving me, if I will tell myself I love em enough times in front of a mirror, I will begin to love me. I think a lot of the thoughts we have, we have because we have thought them over and over again until be believe them to be true. And Byron Katie challenged all that, she didn't challenge my belief about that, she gave me a method for changing those thoughts. Her four questions are just the essence of simplicity. Is it true? Is this thought that you are having true? Question two: can you absolutely know that it is true, not that you suspect that that it is true, not that you have evidence. Can you absolutely know that it is true? Question three: how do you react, what happens when you believe that thought? And question four: who would you be without the thought?
Wow, this is really powerful. You know, your lover, your husband, your wife, they cheat on you, they have sex with somebody else, you start telling yourself things like they don't love you enough, they don't care. Maybe it's not even that big, maybe they just forgot your birthday or you just don't like their behavior, they seem to be treating you... So you make up a story and the first question about that story is: is it true? Not do you want to believe that it is true or that you have collected a lot of evidence. Is it actually true? Can you absolutely know that it is true? When you believe that thought how do you react, what happens? And, who would you be without that thought? That is a powerful system to change self limiting beliefs, to change beliefs which keep us out of intimacy, to change beliefs which kill our desire. That is a powerful set of questions and I just, the simplicity of it, the directness of it, the ease with which one can just look at your thought and just ask your self: 'is it true?'. I just noticed that since I liked to Byron Katie I have used that a bunch of times in my life and I am just really, really, really grateful for that thought.
Well, that's the first three, but I've got seven more. I want to take a break right now and give a chance for our sponsors and let our sponsors support us.
Chip August: I'm back, you are listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy and I am talking about ten of the shows that really left me pondering this year and it is maybe a nice reminder for you to you listen to these shows. Next on my list is Toni Bentley. I don't know if you say that show but Toni Bentley wrote an amazing her experience of, now don't get too exited, her experience with anal intercourse. And it was just an extraordinary, an extraordinary recounting of the idea of taboo as a path to intimacy. And it was just, her journey, the process of first having fantasies of fulfilling those fantasies, of not just fulfilling those fantasies by masturbating, by being alone, but to actually act out those fantasies. And then to find yourself having a sexual experience that gets better and better and better over the course of a number of years all built around this thing, this activity which is about surrendering which is about taboo and about communication. It's about bringing what might seem dirty or nasty or unpleasant in your mind to while at the same time seeming delicious and desirable and wanted, it about bringing that all to the surface and it is about finding your way to a relationship that you never dreamed that you could actually be in and then finding the value in that relationship, the depth and power in that relationship.
Talking to Toni Bentley was a lot of fun and if you haven't listened to that interview, even if you are not a person who particularly likes anal play or likes anal sex, I would really encourage you to listen to the interview and just start thinking about what's taboo in your like that might be powerful to bring into your life. I thought that the Toni Bentley interview matched up really well with the Esther Perel interview. There was Esther talking about that eroticism lives in our wildness not our tameness and there was Toni talking about giving in to our wildness, surrendering into our wildness, surrendering into wild sex and it was just an extraordinary, earthy fun interview.
Now on the other side of that, not earthy at all, but fun. I had a great interview with Brian Swimme. Brian Swimme is the author of a great book called 'The Universe is A Green Dragon' and Brian Swimme is a scientist. He is a physicist, what he studies is astronomy and gravitational astronomy and Brian Swimme has this fascinating view that maybe the fundamental force in the universe is attraction. He calls it allurement, you know, and what he said what that the universe is permeated by attraction or allurement. It just is, there is nothing that can explain it, it is just there. And when you start to notice that the universe is permeated by this form of allurement that we call gravity and then you notice that there is this story, this life story that starts with electrical attraction and then you realize that our own attraction as humans might be a sort of acting out, a sort of realization of the same idea and then it turns out that the thing that holds together the stars and the galaxies and all of us might actually be the thing that we make conscious and call love.
He said, quote: “I kind of in that moment realized that our language in the modern period has collapsed into the human experience. We always use the word love to describe what is happening between two humans. And in that moment I started to think that there was a possibility of leaving behind that tight focus on language and opening us and realizing the word love really refers to this attraction that is throughout the universe, one form of which is human love and another form of which is galactic attraction”.
What a concept right, that the love that we feel for one another might just be the conscious realization of the fundamental force in the universe. I loved talking to Brian Swimme, I love talking to scientists who are spiritual, that mix of science and spirituality is just extraordinary and Brian is just an extraordinary guy. Brian Swimme mixing that science and spirituality, coming to a deep realization that it is perhaps true that the universe is built on love.
Now speaking of love. I had a great interview with Daphne Rose Kingma. Daphne Rose Kingma has written, I don't know five, six books and one of my favorites is called 'The Future of Love'. And with Daphne Rose Kingma, her teaching is something about that we have to find spirit embodied, we are embodied beings, we are not just energetic beings. We are spirit beings that are incarnated in bodies with human histories and family dramas and psychological issues and that what we are doing, that's kind of what we are here for in human form. That we are operating at the love energy level, at the soul energy level and at the same time negotiating the tasks of daily like. And she thinks that the future of love is more about a birthing, a transformational process that where we embody more love in all of our relationships what ever the form of those relationships are. It was just great tot talk to her, now this was the opposite of Brian Swimme. Brian Swimme is really about science Daphene Rose Kingma is really spirituality and love without the science. What Daphne Rose Kingma is looking at is love as a spiritual path, love as a spiritual realization. It was great to talk to her, also Daphne Rose Kingma just turned out to be a really entertaining guest, she was a really light and funny and easy to talk to and I think that you will find that the interview itself is really a breath of fresh air and I invite you to listen in to Daphne Rose Kingma about the future of love.
Just recently I interviewed two sexologists: Celeste and Danielle. I really liked talking to Celeste and Danielle; they are sexologists and sexological body workers, they teach men how to be great lovers and women how to be great lovers, they teach people how to enhance sexuality the in their relationships and in their love lives and they were a lot of fun to talk to. And the thing that they taught me was something about, they called it: 'embodied eroticism'. And they talked about the idea that we could actually be in touch with our own desire. That we didn't have to put it aside, that we didn't have to pretend that it wasn't there and that we didn't have to do anything about it. That our eroticism lived in our body. It wasn't necessarily about anyone else. It was really about feeling the desire in our body, embracing it and being with it and feeling the joy and the power there. That really, other people didn't make us erotic, flirting or not flirting didn't make us erotic and it really wasn't something that was out of our control or out side of us. It really wasn't something that lives elsewhere in the universe, that in fact out eroticism, our sexuality lived inside us, that our power lives inside us and that there is an amazing freedom in embracing that and in being with it.
Celeste said something about, that when really accept that power and you embrace it in your body then you have mastery over it, and you can use it the ways you want to. You can bring in flirtation if it's appropriate, or you can bring in that confidence and power if that's what's called for in the moment. I loved that idea, I just thought that was a great idea.
We're going to be back with three more, my last three, but first I want to take a short break. If you like what you are hearing here you can by all means go and look on the episode page: we transcribe almost every episode of Sex, Love and Intimacy so if you want to print it or you want to read it or if you want to cut and forward copy it you will find it on my web page at Sex, Love and Intimacy at Personal Life Media dot com. Also as you are looking through those transcripts that you think wow I need to send that to my lover, my husband, my relative, my co-worker, I don't know. One of the ways that my audience grows is that if you think of someone that might like this show and send it their way and one of the ways that you can do that is to notice something that was really powerful or powerfully affected you and send to them with the link to the show.
Also if you have comments for me you can reach me at [email protected] that's all one work, that's personallifemedia.com. Or you can call our voicemail number that is 206350333. I am always interested in hearing your comments and feedback and I'm always on the look out for new guests.
Chip August: Welcome back, you're listening to Sex Love and Intimacy, I'm your host, Chip August. Today we are doing a year end review of some of my favorite shows, you've heard about seven of them and here are the final three that I want to talk about today anyway. I want to talk about Alison Armstrong, now I did two, I think I did four different programs with Alison. The reason that I did four different programs with Alison Armstrong was that I just loved what she said. Alison has a program called 'Celebrating Men' a workshop called 'celebrating men'. Alison had this just great, great, great concept. She was sitting at a seminar, trying to figure, listening to some person talking about love and communication and heard somebody ask a question about why is it that men are so wonderful at the beginning of a relationship, they take you places they bring you gifts, they are very romantic, they listen to you, talk about your pets and your family and then after a few weeks or a few months they turn into a sports watching, pizza eating, beer belching, couch slob. Yeah, that was the nasty way that the person actually said it and the person who was leading the seminar looked her up and down and said: “you're a frog farmer”. What?! He said: “some women turn frogs into princes, you my dear turn princes into frogs”.
What a concept! The idea that the problem isn't the quality of people that you are meeting; the problem isn't that men just don't know who to be with women, or that women just don't know how to be with men. It maybe that where relationships just really click, has to do with the way that we see each other and hold each other and respect each other so that we turn frogs into princes not princes into frogs. Alison Armstrong was so, why I did so many shows with her was this wasn't just an idea she went and actually researched and did all kinds of focus groups and anecdotal type research where she interviews men and talks about what they really think and what they are really like. Her interview with me was just chock full of ideas about how to how to listen to each other. One of the terrific little phrases that she said was: “women have this idea that men should be hairy women” and she just wanted to say, no, no, no men are men and women are women and there are some pretty different ways that we approach things and there are some pretty different things that you know she had advice for men about how to listen to women, and advice for women about how to listen to men. And advice about a lovely insight about how to have someone loved and received .
The thing is that I teach in my own workshops and I teach that we can aspire to treat every one with dignity, with love, with respect, with kindness, with compassion, with understanding and the heart of Alison Armstrong's message was that there seems to be this emphasis on the battle between the sexes, instead of an emphasis between what's great between the sexes. So if you love men or if you are a man I would really encourage you to listen to some of the interviews with Alison Armstrong . Alison was fun to talk to and she made me laugh a whole lot but I think one of the people I laughed the most with was a woman named Mary Roach.
Mary Roach has written a book called 'Bonk'. She has researched all kinds of weird, odd, unusual sexual research. She has researched men who put a third testicle in their bodies to try to make them be more sexual. She has researched penile implants. She has researched just all these funny, odd little byways; Mary Roach has just got this really curious mind. Now, I want you to know that Mary Roach is not just involved with sex, she is not a sexologist her book before this was entitled 'Stiff'. She researched about death and dying and things about that. She has this really, really, really curious mind and what you get from listening to the interview with Mary is how important it is to laugh about things. It's a funny book. And she really thinks that laughter is underestimated, that laughter has an arousing effect, that laughter in the bedroom is good, that laughter in the bedroom is good, you know. At one point she said: say somebody occasionally has what Masters and Johnson call 'failure of an erective performance' I mean if you get all anxious about it and say 'I have an erectile dysfunction, I'm impotent!' or the woman gets upset and then it creates a cycle of anxiety. Where as, if you laugh about it, like 'oh no I have ED!' it is not like it is a funny matter, but if you can keep it light and then keep the anxiety out of the bedroom, you will find that anxiety is the enemy of good sex. I just love that. I find that her book is light and funny and sweet and amusing: Mary Roach. So you might want to listen in to Mary Roach, you might also want to get the book.
So, number ten. Here we are at number ten. One of my idols back in the 80's, I bumped into an author and his wife, two authors I guess: Gay and Catherine Hendriks. The first book of theirs that I read was called 'Centering: the art of intimacy'. And to me their whole thrust was that we can not be intimate until we can be at home in ourselves. And that when we loose being at home on ourselves, when we loose being centered, when we loose our breath, when we loose our center, we loose our place of connection in the cosmos. We loose our place of connection with other people. It was extraordinary thinking and teaching and I followed them for years and years and years and then this year I got the great good fortune to interview Gay Hendriks. If you are interested in spirituality, if you are interested in being a spiritual person, if you see relationship as a spiritual path, you really want to listen to this interview with Gay Hendriks.
One of the things he said: “one of the things that is most important to me about spirituality is that, for me anyway that it is a feeling of connection. It's the feeling of being connected to another person. A feeling of being connected to the cosmos. A feeling of being home here in the universe”. And so I think that you can almost draw a linear relationship between something that can't be measured, that is the most important thing in life. What the mistaken assumption is about love is that you have got projected onto love and the dramas that we put onto love, that we need to just feel the essence of genuine love. That conscious loving is just realizing that you can create the kind of love experience that you want, by shifting your unconscious intentions to conscious intentions that you have chosen. I'll say that again: conscious loving, first and foremost, is just realizing that you can create the kind of love experience that you want, by shifting your unconscious intentions to conscious intentions that you have chosen. I think that is just a powerful, powerful, powerful idea.
So there you go. There is ten great shows that I did this year. Now I want you to know that I am over seventy shows at this point, I think that it is seventy two or seventy three and that's just ten, I don't know sixteen percent or something. I really want to invite you if you have missed some of my older shows go on back and have a listen. There is a lot of good material, there and feel free to just cherry pick through the list of shows. We are coming to the end of this show and I want to say to my listeners even if you are not listening to this at the end of the calendar year or the beginning of the new year, I still want to wish you a happy new year and I want to thank you for listening. I want to thank you for supporting the show and for keeping the show growing. It is larger than I dreamed possible and I would like to get it even larger still, so I thank you so much. Thank you, thank you thank you for listening.
Every show I like to end with an exercise and let's not make this show an exception. So here's an exercise that I would like to invite you to try at home and it is an exercise that I have found very powerful in my life. I believe that it is hard to get where you are going if you don't know where it is that you are going and so I think that it is really important for us sometimes for us to have a 'North Star', some kind of guidance mechanism, so that we can notice when we are off course and true ourselves to being on course and instead of beating ourselves up for being off course we should notice that: 'wow, I was headed for there, and now it doesn't feel like I am headed for there, let me change course and go back to where I was headed for'. But how does one find one's 'North Star' ? And that the exercise that I want to give you.
I want to invite you (not while you're driving please) to close your eyes and to think back to ten years ago around this time of the year, around this date. Think about where you lived, think about who you lived with about who you were in a relationship with, think about what job you did, think about what kind of clothing you wore, you know ten years ago, what kind of car did you drive? did you have a pet in your life? Who were your friends? Ten years ago! Can you remember what you dreamed, what you were hoping for what you were wishing for? Where you thought you were headed. Then I invite you to fast forward ten years to notice all the tings that have changed, all the things that have happened. Notice also all the things that have stayed the same. Notice that there are things that have become constant in your life that ten years ago were new. Notice that ten years ago there were things that you thought you would always have in your life and now you don't. Notice the relationships that have gone away and the relationships that have come. Notice the jobs that have gone away and the jobs that have come. Children that may have shown up in your life. Notice all the things that are different in those ten years. Notice all the things that are the same in those ten years, the things that were predictively changing over those ten years and those that were unpredictably changing. Close your eyes again and fast forward ten years into the future and create a vision for you that can be your 'North Star'. Create a vision. Who do you want to be in ten years? Where do you want to be living? Do you want to be in a relationship? Do you want to be alone? Do you want to have a pet? Do you want to live in a house? Do you want to live in a particular city? What kind or work do you want to be doing in ten years? Do you want to be retired? Do you want to be doing social work? Do you want to be helping? If you could construct a fantasy for ten years from now, that you liked, that felt good to you, even if you only get fragments of it, see if you can find some fragments of it. Breathe into it and let your self experience where you want to be. And then take a breath and open your eyes. For a moment just think: what's one step that I could take towards that 'North Star', towards that vision'. It's not exactly a new years resolution, it's OK if you don't take that step, you're not promising anything, but you know, what we move toward that tends to be where we go, what we believe in, that's what we manifest.
Thanks for listening. Thanks for being a listener of Sex, Love and Intimacy. I've got lots more good shows, I've got about 50 guests still lined up and so there's lots more to come, so please keep listening, but that brings us to the end of another episode. When ever you are listening to this I hope that you are having a happy new year and please listen again.
Announcement: Find more great shows like this on personallifemedia.com.