Episode 38: THE INVITATION OF DESIRE with Trebbe Johnson
THE INVITATION OF DESIRE with Trebbe Johnson, author of "The World is a Waiting Lover: Desire and the Quest for the Beloved. Director of Visions Arrow (www.VisionArrow.com) offering adventure travel worldwide combining the mythic & the quest for meaning.
In this episode, Trebbe shares from her own personal and transformative experience of falling in love with a younger man at 50, outside of her marriage. Discover how common it is to fall in love with someone we can't be with and how this can lead to more passion in life. Learn how the person we're attracted to guides us to the Divine Beloved. Trebbe reveals practices on diving into what fascinates us, and how to use the positive power of allurement to nourish us in many ways.
Francesca Gentille: Welcome to Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra: Bringing You The Soul Of Sex. With me today is Trebbe Johnson and she is the author of The World Is A Waiting Lover: Desire and the Quest For the Beloved, and the director of Vision Era, offering journeys worldwide that combine adventure, travel, they mythic journey and the quest for meaning.
Trebbe Johnson: I too have been in a great relationship where the other person was, and there was this thing that happened and I didn’t know what to do with it, and we tend to think that it’s wrong, you know, that you’re already somehow committing adultery just by looking at somebody else, and really you can’t be a person who’s involved in life and love and passion in the world and not occasionally have yourself be drawn to another person.
Trebbe Johnson: What’s so incredible about that flowing of love is that we feel like we’re our own best self. It’s like the other person shines a light in us or lights this match in us and suddenly everything that we were meant to be feels like it’s coming alive or it’s being illuminated. If that love can’t be realized we feel like now the fire will go out, except the fire that is lit in us is really our fire.
Trebbe Johnson: I like to think about all of this whole journey stems from fascination and attraction and allurement. You know, you look at a little child who’s fascinated with just the junk paper in a waste paper basket. Attraction and fascination helps us pick out our best friends at school, the subject we love, our favorite foods, our favorite colors, and then as we get older we sort of tend to forget about that. And what is love and falling in love but big, attraction and fascination big time.
Francesca Gentille: Trebbe is even, Trebbe is even more than that, and I’m going to talk about more than that about her in some of, as we come back from some of our other breaks, but for right now I want to just dive in and let you know that I have been reading her book, and there’s a concept in this that is both ancient and very new, that there’s a divine beloved inside us and that when we connect with that something that something amazing happens. And, Trebbe could you talk a little bit about what that is and also how, you were telling me a little earlier, how people connect to you through this, why they seek you about this concept.
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah, I came to be intimate with this concept of the inner lover because when I was 50 years old I was guiding one of my wilderness trips, one of my wilderness rites of passage trips in the mountains of Southern Colorado, and my co-guide and I had with us a young man who was assisting us and also interested in learning how to do the work, and he was 15 years younger than I and at the end of the journey he told me he was in love with me. And we were just, everybody was just saying goodbye sort of casual and he said, “I am truly and completely in love with you”, he said. And I just did all the right wise kind of thing, you know, I said, “Oh, thank you so much, but really it’s about you. You’re just projecting your own guide self onto me”, and then about two days later when I got home it was like I just was suddenly completely ripped open, and this feeling of intense desire and love and passion filled me up and I just went, “Oh my gosh, I’m in love with him too.” Of course the thing was I’ve been married for twelve years. And not only married, but very happily married to somebody that I really loved. So I have this dilemma, what do I do now? Do I jeopardize this really good marriage and go off and be with this person? Do I just turn my back on it and say “This is inappropriate. You’re married, you know, you’re too old, you’re, just forget about it”? Do I go into therapy? What do I do? And the feelings were so intense that I decided that the one thing that I could do which was neither of the above was to find out what passion itself really is by really going into the feelings and then going beneath them, and…
Francesca Gentille: (unintelligible), just have to say, you know, how many of us listening have ever been in a relationship that, you know, was a good relationship and then suddenly felt these incredible longings and passions and so swept away by feeling for another person and we, you know, and what an amazing turn for you to say what about passion itself, what is the doorway that’s opening here, and what is this meant to be in my life”….
Trebbe Johnson: Exactly.
Francesca Gentille: Tell me more, then what happened?
Trebbe Johnson: Well a lot, that’s what so many people have written me since The World is a Waiting Lover was published, that they say, “Yes, this happened to me too. I too have been in a great relationship or the other person was and there was this thing that happened and I didn’t know what to do, and…”, and we don’t talk about it. Oh we do talk about it, we tend to think that it’s wrong, you know, that you’re already somehow committing, you’re committing adultery just by looking at somebody else, and really you can’t be, in my opinion, you can’t be a person who’s involved in life and love and passion in the world and curious and interested in what you’re doing and not occasionally have yourself be drawn to another person. It’s just like, it’s not, I don’t think it’s possible and I certainly don’t think there’s any wrong, and there are ways of finding out more about ourselves that don’t have to deal just with this particular person, especially if that relationship can’t happen.
Francesca Gentille: You know, I just want to breathe that in for a moment, that acceptance and approval, that if we’re engaged in life we will periodically be drawn to notice another beautiful human being even if we’re happily involved in a relationship, and that it’s, and that that’s normal and we just get to breathe that in. I’m alive in the world. I’m alive and engaged in the world, and I’m noticing what’s going on. But then Trebbe, there’s that feeling of like, “What am I supposed to do? Am I meant to like leave my current partner and run off with this person? Should I become polyamorous? Do I need to like shut everything down tighter than I ever shut it down before and push this away? What do we do?
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. And fortunately for me I had a husband who really go it. You know, he didn’t say, I told him about this after a few days and he didn’t say, “Get out of here. You’re an adulteress. I never want to see you again.” He just said, “I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before. You do work you love. You know, people are beautiful and you’re beautiful and of course this is going to happen, and as long as you’re not going to go off and have an affair with him, you know, whatever you need to do with it I’m supportive”, and I think that was extraordinary about him, I don’t know how this, what would have happened with this, but….
Francesca Gentille: And I just, you know, I’m going to say for a second for those of us who, our partners having this, I think what I just heard in that is if my partner comes to me and says, “Oh my god, I’m noticing that I’m attracted to someone or in lust with someone or in love with someone”, it’s, something amazing can happen if I’m the partner that’s being told this…
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah.
Francesca Gentille: I can breathe it in and say to my beloved, “You know, that’s normal. There’s something to learn here. There’s something to do here, and as long as you’re not, you know, leaving me for this person, you know, I want to support you in discovering what, what opening is here”, and, you know, I want to talk about that ‘cause the opening, we’re not talking about an opening that says I’m going to go, you know, rip off my clothes and their clothes and go, you know, pouncing through the forest with this person. We’re talking about really an opening of spirit, an opening of heart and soul…
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah, exactly.
Francesca Gentille: And I want to talk more about that when we come back from a break and a word from our sponsors. This is, oh this is so tasty, this is just, I think this is something we all have needed to know for a long time. So when we come back we’ll be talking more with Trebbe who wrote The World is a Waiting Lover.
Francesca Gentille: Welcome back to Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra: Bringing You the Soul of Sex. We’re talking with Trebbe Johnson, I’m so excited I can barely talk, who’s the author of The World is a Waiting Lover: Desire and the Quest for the Beloved, a woman who’s a life long adventurer in the inner and outer world who’s campelotami art, studied classical Indian dance, just, there’s so much that she’s done and learned, and she’s sharing this journey with us about the inner beloved and how we get attracted to someone externally, and then what does that mean? What are we supposed to do with that? Trebbe?
Trebbe Johnson: Yes, hi. I thought you were still talking. I love all your questions, I guess I was waiting to have you ask more.
Francesca Gentille: Yeah.
Trebbe Johnson: So, what is so incredible about love, what’s so incredible about falling in love is that we feel like we’re our own best self. It’s like the other person shines a light in us or lights a match in us and suddenly everything that we were meant to be feels like it’s coming alive or it’s being illuminated. And then if that person, if that love can’t be realized, like if that person can’t be with us or we can’t be with them or they desert us or they leave or they die, we feel like now the fire will go out, except what I discovered through this process of really going deeply beneath my own desire for this young man, who I call Lucas in the book, was that the fire that is lit in us is really our fire, and we fall in love with somebody always because we, they see in us something that we can’t perhaps yet see in ourselves. They see us as beautiful, as adventurous as creative, as, and then what also happens is that we see in them things that we need in ourselves that we want more of, maybe they make us feel more adventurous or bolder or disciplined or spiritual practice or more disciplined in our work. So there’s this, like this double mirror going on. And so what we need to do if these loves come into our lives that can’t be realized in a physical sense or a romantic sense or perhaps ideally even when they can and we actually end up with the person, that’s even the best, is to say, “How do I need to develop these qualities in myself? What is coming alive in me that I need to keep alive and foster and nourish despite the other person, so that it’s not them who’s lighting me up, it’s me who’s lighting me up?”
Francesca Gentille: You know, I love that, and that reminds me of one of my teachers has said that when we hate someone, when we’re angry, you know, “I hate that person” or “They make me so angry”, that what I’m hating in them is really something in me, it’s something in me that I haven’t brought home in a compassionate way into my own heart…
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah, exactly.
Francesca Gentille: You know, I say, “They’re so selfish.” Well maybe I haven’t found my own selfishness and my own ability to be self-loving. And so, and what I’m hearing is the other side of that is that if I look at someone and say, oh, you know, they feel, you know, “They’re so creative” or “I feel so alive when I’m with them” or “They make me feel so beautiful or so sexy”, it’s that I’m actually falling in love with that, once again that part of me that I haven’t brought home yet….
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah.
Francesca Gentille: that ability to say what if I looked in the mirror and I said, “Damn, you’re hot”. You know, what if I looked at something I created and felt my own joy in my creativity. And it’s something, I’m so drawn to this thing and this other person that I haven’t brought home into me.
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah. And for example, Lucas had a dream about me when we were in the mountains in Colorado before he made this declaration of love. He dreamed that I was standing in a cave on top of the mountain and singing him up to it. And so I represented to him this kind of gypsy, sensuous guide-self high up off on top of the mountain, and that was his, that was his souls image of me. And I certainly didn’t see myself that way, but I wanted to see myself in that way. And so that image gave me something to try and bring more into myself, like really owning that part of myself, that was a leader, that was a sensuous older woman that was magnetic and charismatic and kind of magical.
Francesca Gentille: And so that same concept is that some, he gave you an image…
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah.
Francesca Gentille: that lit you up and then in a sense, you know, we start to fall in love with it, you’re the giver of my image….
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah.
Francesca Gentille: what would I be without you, if you weren’t….
Trebbe Johnson: That’s right.
Francesca Gentille: if you weren’t here telling me what, you know, what a, you know, how, you know, beautiful I was or what a stud I was, I wouldn’t know how to access that myself…
Trebbe Johnson: Mm hmm.
Francesca Gentille: if it’s here.
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah, and so what I ended up in the book calling people like that was ‘escorts to the beloved’, because after I realized, I started talking about this thing that was happening, you know. My husband was so understanding, I started talking to Vince, “Has this ever happened to you?”, and I found out its happened to so many people. And then, so there’s this person in your life that opens you up in some way, what do you do with that? What do you do with that if you can’t go and be lovers with this person.
Francesca Gentille: Yeah.
Trebbe Johnson: And so I realized…
Francesca Gentille: What do you do?
Trebbe Johnson: what I ended up calling them is they’re ‘escorts to the inner beloved’. It’s like they bring us to this doorway and they offer us the opportunity to open the door and step into this incredible new way of perceiving our self and our world and everybody in, and, but then their job is done. They need to walk on down the hallway again and we can make the mistake of thing that our life is over or we have to follow them and throw ourselves at their feet and say, “Be with me, be with me, be with me”, or we can open the door and step into that room and realize our own bigness and our own possibilities in our own boldness in a way that no, we never could before. And as one of my mentors said to me, even at incredible you can say, “Isn’t it how, isn’t it amazing how big love can be and I can take that love and I can bring it into the world.”
Francesca Gentille: Yeah and, you know, I have to say that I had developed a muscle of if somebody came to me and said, “You know, Francesca, you’re so amazing, you’re so beautiful, I’m so in love with you”, I had developed, you know, in the old days I might of, you know, pooh poohed that, you know, like pushed it away….
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah.
Francesca Gentille: Oh, I’m nothing, I’m not even what they’re talking about, I don’t know what they see. And then there was a point where maybe I would have run away with that. And then there was a point where I said, oh, they’re seeing the divine in me. They are seeing….
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah.
Francesca Gentille: the radiance in me and I can breathe that in, I can say thank you, and I can in fact point them and say, “You are on the road to your divine beloved.” You know, I’m a sign post on the road to your divine beloved…
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah.
Francesca Gentille: whether that’s external or internal. But I have to tell you, the muscle is not so strong on the other side, that if something triggers me in another person, where I’m like, “Oh, you’re so wonderful, you know. Isn’t this person just amazing”, and then I’m the one that’s twitterpated and getting carried away, is that, that muscle I’m still growing to be able to say they’re the sign post to the divine beloved…
Trebbe Johnson: Uh huh.
Francesca Gentille: They are the pointer. They, it’s, whether I’m single and I get to have a relationship with them or whether I’m partnered and I don’t get to have a sexual relationship with them, either way I don’t want to put all my projections of the divine beloved onto a person, a human being who will never really be able to live up to that.
Trebbe Johnson: Exactly, and even if you end up staying with this person who’s your beloved and we all start out that way of feeling like the other person is the answer to all of our dreams, and by the way, I’m still happily married to my wonderful husband, eventually that sort of glow of the first stages of romance is going to taper out because the other person disappoints you. You know, they’re always late or their feet smell or, you know, you have to ask them for what you want over and over again in bed or, you know, something happens and they just start becoming a little less perfect and a little bit more themselves, which is of course what’s they’re job to be, it’s our job to become more of ourselves. And so then ideally we take what we love and we, we’re accompanying them through their journey and supporting their becoming as fully themselves as we possibly can, as we become our own selves as fully as we possibly can, and in that way we both are stepping into the world as if it was a waiting lover.
Francesca Gentille: You know, Trebbe I want to talk more about that, and also for our singles, if there’s, you know, people are in, singles dating that maybe don’t have a partner, how they can stay centered in the dating process and maybe even a meditation or a practice or something that they can take on, you know, a real practice for themselves. And then also for our couples that are listening, you know, that notice that they’re being attracted to other people periodically or noticing that some of the, you know, the flame is kind of maybe dwindling a little bit in the relationship, maybe also a practice that they can take on individually or with their partner that can, you know, really enliven the sense of the inner divine beloved, after we come back from a break and a word from our fabulous sponsors who were are, would love for you to support because supporting our sponsors allows these, this show and shows like these to be here in the world, and we’ll be back in just a few moments.
Francesca Gentille: Welcome back to Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra: Bringing You the Soul of Sex, talking with Trebbe Johnson, author of The World is a Waiting Lover: Desire and the Quest for the Beloved, and Trebbe we were just getting to that point of how, what are the practices, what do we do to really take back the, what we might call a projection from another person? Whether we’re single or coupled, it’s a lot of pressure to put on another person to have them fulfill our….
Trebbe Johnson: Oh, yes.
Francesca Gentille: fulfill our fantasies. So, what, what do we do?
Trebbe Johnson: Well, I like to think about all of this, this whole journey stems from fascination and attraction and allurement, and if we pay attention to our own lives, we get attracted and allured to things every day throughout the day. It’s really, the force of attraction and fascination guides our lives. You know, you look at a little child who’s fascinated with, I have little, friends who have a little girl, she’s fascinated with just the junk paper that’s in a waste paper basket. It’s more interesting than her teddy bear. So she’s got this fascination with this. We’re all fascinated with things everyday. Attraction and fascination help us pick out our best friends in school, the subjects we love, our favorite foods, our favorite colors, and then as we get older we sort of tend to forget about that. And what is love and falling in love but big attraction and fascination big time. So when this happens, I always, first of all, recommend to people, write down the things about yourself that this person makes you feel that you’re so fascinated with. Bring it back to yourself. You know, write down like the ten things or the five things that you feel; “This person makes me feel beautiful, makes me feel creative, makes me feel like, like I’m a person who’s not afraid to go out and do what I want in the world.” So it’s like bringing that fascination back into yourself. And another really good suggestion, which I think anyone can do at any particular time, whether they are in a long-term relationship or just getting interested in somebody or between, is to take a piece of paper and number it from say one to twenty-five and besides each number write down something that is kind of calling to you at this time in your life, and you can be as mundane and ordinary and as fanciful as you want, like, “I’d like to lead a happening in Central Park” or “I’d like to fly to the moon” or “I’d like to learn how to do the Tango”, you know, “I’d like to get in touch with such and such a person who’s in my profession that I really admire but I think would never talk to me.” Write down twenty-five things, and it’s like you’re telling yourself, you’re letting yourself notice what’s calling to you in the world ‘cause so often when we get older we tend to think that other things that call to us have nothing to do with what we’re supposed to do, it’s like we’ve got blinders on. You know, like we might be, a woman told me once that everyday as she walked from her car into her job she would see this beautiful rosebush and she kept saying, “One of these days I’m going to stop and look at those roses.” She never made the time to do something that might’ve taken fifteen seconds to do.
Francesca Gentille: And I think what you’re speaking to as well is really the richness of life itself. Life is not just, what is it, work, work, you know, spend, spend and then die…
Trebbe Johnson: Mm hmm.
Francesca Gentille: You know, that life is meant to be this rich engagement….
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah.
Francesca Gentille: of our senses, of our emotions, and that, you know…
Trebbe Johnson: Exactly.
Francesca Gentille: I say, you know, you all are listening for the spiritual show people, I say that we’re an embodied soul, we choose to be, take our spirit into a body to learn from the experiences of having a body; the senses, the beauty, the suffering, the emotions, the joys, the pain, and to avoid those and to say, “Well, I’m going to avoid the rosebush” or “I’m going to avoid even thinking about someone that I am drawn to” or “I’m going to be, avoid, you know, people now that my mother died a few weeks ago, I’m going to avoid grieving”, is avoiding life itself.
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah. And what I mean when I mean inner beloved is exactly as you say, saying yes to that. The inner beloved is about saying yes to what turns you on in life, and you might think of the inner beloved as an actual presence, you might have an image of it as a real person, it might just be a feeling moving up through your body, you know, from your groins all the way up through your body and sort of charging you and turning you on about life. It just might be a sense of excitement about the world. It doesn’t really matter, it’s about what the inner beloved or the divine beloved really is, is your connection with your own bigger self. It’s about moving into the next step with as much engagement and passion as you possibly can, and it’s already in all of us.
Francesca Gentille: And it’s, there’s layers, it’s this beautiful layers, it’s not, you know, I want to stand in front of the rosebush and smell the roses; therefore I need to become a gardener, although it could mean that.
Trebbe Johnson: Yes, oh that’s such an important point. Yes, go ahead.
Francesca Gentille: Yeah, exactly, it’s that I feel that, you know, when these, whether it’s the, whether it’s the lust or the love or a person, whether it’s the rosebush, whether it’s anger or sadness, that this is like a package that’s meant to be unwrapped. This is the difference between being reactive and active. Something comes to me and now what, let me unpack what that means. This is, this the examined life that’s worth living. Who was it that said the “unexamined life is not worth living”? This is the examined life that is worth living, when we say what is it about roses?
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah. And what is it that I can say yes to. And people think sometimes that it has to be like, saying yes to the mystery has to do with changing your career or falling in love with somebody else or going off to a foreign land in order to do something that you’ve never done before, but so often it just is about, “I’m going to take half a second, you know, half a minute to smell those roses.” “I’m going to explore what it would be like to take Tango lessons. I’m going to find out where I can take them”, you know, “I’m going to make a phone call to somebody that I’m scared to make a phone call to because I really admire them a lot.” It’s those little steps. Somebody told me once, it’s a great idea if you do something everyday that you’re afraid to do and that you’re soul absolutely demands that you do, and I think that’s just the best, that’s the best, for me, the best advice and the best tip that I could ever give anybody.
Francesca Gentille: I love that, “Do everything, do one thing everyday that you’re afraid to do, but that your soul absolutely demands that you do.”
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah.
Francesca Gentille: And that distinction between being called and being driven. I think driven once again is that reactivity…
Trebbe Johnson: Mm hmm. It’s like being pushed and being called is being, is being beckoned from the mystery.
Francesca Gentille: Being beckoned from the mystery, and that when we do that our whole life begins to enliven and absolutely our relationship at home if we have one at home is going to enliven with that. And if we are single and wanting a beloved to, you know, an external beloved, a flesh and blood person to engage with, if my life is already rich and alive and filled with the passion of living, how attractive is that?
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah, that’s pretty attractive.
Francesca Gentille: Yeah, it’s pretty attractive.
Trebbe Johnson: And it’s more fun. There’s more joy in this.
Francesca Gentille: There’s joy, I mean inviting you into a life that’s rich versus asking you to save me from a life that’s poor.
Trebbe Johnson: Mm hmm. Yeah, and even when time’s are, even when time’s are rough, this calling of the beloved is still there pulling us into being bigger than we though we could be and bolder and more passionate about everything we do.
Francesca Gentille: And I love that, you know, looking for my passion, looking for my turn-on, I have to tell you that talking in the show I feel is so exciting, it’s like my body feels alive, my vulva feels alive, that these conversations are a turn-on…
Trebbe Johnson: Yeah, I know. It’s obvious in the way you do it, it doesn’t seem like a radio program, it’s great.
Francesca Gentille: And Trebbe I just want to thank you so much, I could talk to you so much longer, I have to, I want to thank you so much for joining us. We’re out of time for today, and I want to encourage everyone to find Trebbe and The World is a Waiting Lover: Desire and the Quest for the Beloved, a fabulous book, and her website, www.visionarrow.com, and thank you for joining us today Trebbe.
Trebbe Johnson: Thank you, I had a marvelous time.
Francesca Gentille: And I want to thank you, our listeners for joining us. And if you want to get a transcript from the show, find out more about Trebbe, you can even call us or email us from there, you can do that at www.personallifemedia.com. That’s www.personallifemedia.com. Thank you for joining us in Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra: Brining You the Soul of Sex.