Meeting two famous screen stars – a comic in pictures….

It’s been a nice and sunny day here at Double “M” Ranch in Manitoba .

Suddenly I heard a sharp squeaking sound in the bird feeder. What a surprise when I saw my squirrel facing the two most famous characters of so many Disney comics, Chip’n Dale.

Of course they knew how to intimidate my poor little squirrel with their snobbish and a little bit arrogant way of acting. But after a while they became very good friends and I could hear their laughter all day long.

“On our holiday retreats we don’t allow pictures to be taken” Chip announced the first day, but after serving some good nuts, he and Dale agreed that it would be nice to have some memorable moments on canvas.

Et voilà! Enjoy!

SEX, Sexuality, Sexual Harassment

“Are you sure, you want to write about such a sensitive topic?” a friend asked me some days ago. “Sure, I’m sure!” I answered “I have to write it off my chest…”

I grew up in Germany. I was raised Roman Catholic and that involved a lot of taboos, but after freeing myself from all those rigid beliefs that turned out to be so terrible phony I am enjoying sex and sexuality. Why phony, you may ask. Well, my father who was an “Every Sunday Church Goer”, preaching about guilt, shame and sin and sending me regularly to confession as a young child, turned out to have two girl-friends with whom he betrayed my mother and in a way even his girl-friends.

So, I was kind of forced to find my own ways regarding sex and sexuality and I did. This of course starts with the translation of SEX with Making Love. I had many discussions with women (in Bavaria) who stated that they can have sex without being in love. I can’t. For me if a man does not attract me and does not awake a desire inside of me I can’t become intimate. So, how is love defined for me? Is it just about attraction? How is attraction defined? This is a sensitive topic, my friend was right. If we decide that love is the universal power behind everything and that we all should love each other,  simple attraction cannot be the first step to making love. There’s much more to it, when women like me are looking for Mr. Right. It’s about a man’s self-confidence, his intelligence, his sensitivity, his humour, his way of laughing, the sound of his voice, his touch, his smell, his walking, his interests, his openness, his kindness, his empathy and much much more………

You think, I have a lot of expectations? You’re damn right! I don’t want a couch potato on my side, watching TV, eating fast-food, wearing shorts and white socks in sandals!!!! Yuck!

Oh, yes, I wanted to write about sex not about men. Sorry, but somehow it goes together.

So, what does research say about the North American attitude regarding sex? “The majority of the US and Canadian population has the rigid belief that suggests sex existed inside marriage for reproductive purposes and nothing else. Canadians are active sexually but age is a determining factor. Sexual activity peaks in the 30s and declines thereafter.” Poor Canadians, I would say. I better stay with my PR card and stick to my German roots.

But this exactly mirrors what I experience here. A 31-year old woman tells me “This young guy is getting on my nerves. You should see him, holding hands with his girl-friend all the time and then they’re kissing. I’m glad I’m finished with this immature behaviour. I hope I will be married soon and have some children. When you start a family all this smooching and sexual activity finally comes to an end because there are more important things to bother….” Blablabla, I thought, typically left-brained society talk. What could be nicer than driving through Munich and seeing an eighty-year old couple holding hands and kissing while enjoying the nice summer breeze in their convertible.

And then there’s the senior who looks disgusted when seeing some teenagers hugging and kissing in the public train. “We would never have dared to do something so awful.” was her remark. “I did,” I said and smiled about her “I’m so shocked”- expression “I loved to provoke the stiff adults, you know,” I continued, but she quickly switched the topic.

My instructor for Applied Kinesiology, NLP, Systemic Constellations etc. was Italian and in her mid forties. If somebody would have told her to stop having sex and not wearing sexy dresses any more, this person would still suffer the post-traumatic effects of an Italian volcano eruption.

I just read an article from French writer Pascal Bruckner that I found amusing, sad and true: MAKING WAR, NOT LOVE: A FRENCH VIEW ON SEX IN AMERICA

Some excerpts are as follows:

“A few years ago, we were on a family beach vacation in Florida. After a swim, my two-year-old daughter took off her bathing suit. Suddenly, the summer visitors began looking at us sideways. A few minutes later, a sheriff’s deputy equipped with an arsenal that could destroy an entire city, arrived and shouted at us that we had to get our daughter dressed again  if we didn’t want to get fined. My daughter, who thought it was a game, started to run. We ran after her…and the sheriff ran after us. Finally, we caught her and laughed out loud, but the big man in uniform didn’t. In Uncle Sam territory, to be naked on the beach is forbidden, even for babies.

North America, obviously, has a problem with sex that comes from its Protestant legacy, which also has it giving the whole world lessons in morality. To describe America as a Puritan country is not enough because it is a double-faced Puritanism, which shifts with change in attitudes, uses the vocabulary of freedom and coexists with a thriving porn industry. More precisely, this is a prurient Puritanism.”

“In the Bill Clinton case, can we really say that he was sanctioned because he lied more than Dominique Strauss-Kahn because he had an affair with a White Houses’ intern? This is wrong of course because George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a far more serious deception, but was not condemned for it. If he had slept with his assistant, he would have been punished. But murders are apparently less important than extra-marital affairs.”

“Since the 1990’s, any foreign male professor who comes to the US to teach at University has to respect strict instructions: He has to keep the door open when he receives a student, unless the conversation is recorded; he can’t take the elevator with a student; and of course, he can’t have a relationship with a student from the University even if she is over 21 and even if it’s consensual — otherwise he would be immediately expelled. Also with colleagues: one can’t have ambiguous conversations, or use inappropriate words, and must commit themselves not to have sexual intercourse with a colleague unless the two get married.

What does that really mean? It is clearly a furious condemnation of sexual pleasures by criminalizing the heterosexual act. Every man is a rapist, every woman may be a victim. The flattering remark is a first step to harassment, seduction is on the road to rape, gallantry is a euphemism to blur the man’s predatory moves. The flesh leads to corruption, desire is dangerous.”

“To my fellow French who are planning to go to the United States: BE CAREFUL.  If you ever want to flirt with an American citizen, male or female, you need to get an official document from them stipulating that you can enjoy their body. We have a lot to learn from our Americans friends, but certainly not the art of loving.”

And this leads us to the big term SEXUAL HARASSMENT. How is this translated into legal language? In 1989 Chief Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada defined sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victims.”

“Harassment will be considered to have taken place if a reasonable person ought to have known that the behaviour was unwelcome.”

Hm, what’s the definition of “reasonable”? The dictionary talks about “sound thinking and judgement”,  “being rational” and “having a good sense”. And what’s “unwelcome”? Could be already a smile… Based on the theory that everybody has his or her own picture/map of the world the whole matter seems to result in an extremely elastic concept.

A female financial advisor comes to a branch for some appointments. Suddenly the male client is pushed into a different office to deal with a male account manager. What has happened? “I can’t deal with this man” I can hear her telling a colleague “he greeted me friendly and then he mentioned that the last time he saw me I was around 4-years old and sitting on a blanket with my family at the beach for  a pick-nick. Imagine, he saw me in my bikini. This guy is really creepy.” What’s going on here, I was wondering. How many people have mentioned that they have seen me as a baby or little child. I would not spend a minute to think about how they could have seen me. Perhaps I have been crawling naked across the floor. I remember that I didn’t wear a bikini before I was 6. This remark has in my eyes nothing to do with sexual harassment.

Then there was a student who wanted to apply for working at a fishing lodge far north. “He wants me to send him a photo…. What a creepy guy!” We are used to send a photo with our application in Germany and we have never had the idea to examine the reason for that. We even write our birth date on our cover letter. My last boss told me that he was especially attracted by my nice open smile. What did I think when I heard that??? I felt very flattered and attractive as a woman. The work relationship was great and we still have a deep friendship. I’m wondering if a friendship between man and woman is socially acceptable in Canada. As far as I experience everyday life, men here have male friends and women female friends, which is weird for me.

Then there’s this generalizing of women who say “Men only want sex… they’re all having their brains in their pants” or “The guy who has created this hierarchy (Maslow) MUST have been a man because who else could put food and sex on the same level and call them basic needs…”

I know a lot of smart and charming men who are far from being the way just described by women who at the same time dress tempting. Those contradictions show me that those women don’t have a lot self-confidence otherwise they would be aware of their power.

To bring my thoughts to an end I would like to say that I am enjoying the arousing, thrilling, exciting, erotic interacting and flirting game between the genders. How boring would life be without it!

Imagine Eva wouldn’t have eaten the apple, perhaps she and Adam would have never had a thought about sex. This means there would never have been polarities in this world. And without polarities like good and bad, there wouldn’t be heroes like Mother Theresa or Mahatma Ghandi. A woman did the first step towards sex and sexuality and….

I am proud to be a woman!

Namaste!

Proud to be a woman

What’s a cult movie from a psychological point of view?

A cult movie is always actual even if it’s from an era you haven’t been born in. If you’re watching it you immediately can identify with one of the characters or situations. A cult movie is about life, emotions, behaviours and relationships. A cult movie is moving and often makes you cry. It can be very therapeutic.

I was quite shocked when I googled “cult movies” and could not find any of my favourite movies on the top 50 list but a lot of real cruel and disgusting ones. Why wondering about young people running amok when cruelty and brutality is becoming cult?

Of course I made you curious now because you’re asking “So what are cult movies for you?”

So I will list some of my favourites:

  • Dirty Dancing
  • Flashdance
  • Footloose
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • and many more like Grease etc. etc. etc.

Perhaps you state “Hmm, they’re all dance movies…” and you’re right!

Dancing and music always played and still play a very special role in my own life.

What is dancing? Dancing is rhythmic moving to music. Why is “movement” so important in psychotherapy? Movement is fundamental to human life. In fact movement is life. Contemporary physics tells us that the universe and everything in it is in constant motion. We can move our body and at the most basic level our body is movement. Since the beginning of time, indigenous societies around the world have used movement and dance for individual and community healing. Movement Therapy is explained as a movement-based therapeutic technique that aids in release of expressions or feelings and aids in promoting feeling and awareness. Why dancing? An active, creative mind should be housed in an active, creative body. Dance stimulates the imagination, strengthens the body, challenges the intellect, and awakens an emotional sensitivity without judgement. With Applied Psychology I had the pleasure to learn again what I had experienced myself in my teenage years: Movement, especially dancing, prepares the brain for learning. It improves the two brain hemispheres in their teamwork and helps you with faster and better understanding and an improved ability of integrating the stuff you learned into your daily life. In addition to that dancing can be part of anger management. Imagine a bad situation at work and you keep on boiling after coming home, but then you put on some good music and explode or you put on your headphones go outside and run until all the stem has escaped and you’re feeling calm and balanced again.

So I can remember my youth very vividly when watching one of the movies. As soon as I got 16 I escaped from home to the discotheques in my home town in order to dance my frustration, anger and sadness away. It was just about dancing not about meeting somebody because I wanted to be ALONE and AWARE of my emotions. I went to the disco already at 9pm because till 18 you were only allowed to stay till 10pm and you had to show your ID at the entrance. Most of the time I was the only one there because people started to come at ten and later. The bartender knew that I didn’t have a lot of money at that time and I had told him that I was here to escape my problems with my parents and dance away my frustration, so sometimes he offered me a Coke or Sprite for free. When I hear the movie characters say that as soon as the music starts they’re entering an altered state of their being I know what they mean. There’s a lot of dancing in my workshops too. I’m asking my group “How would you express your sadness or grief in a dance? What would a “Success Dance” look like?”

But those movies have more to offer than music and dancing.  There’s the favourite daughter and the jealous sibling who wants to get higher in hierarchy. The loving father who tries to understand, the critical mother who doesn’t even try to understand.

There’s the gang. Who has the leadership qualities? Who is the follower? Is it only “coolness” that makes somebody a leader of the pack or is it more about sensitivity, listening and caring that wins in the end?

Those movies are about authenticity, honesty and values. “I don’t want to hide any more…” “I’m fighting for my love and for the person I love”

“My baby belongs to me!”

Those movies show that you can make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Life is about going forward and that’s not possible without making a wrong decision one’s in a while when risking something. Learn from it and keep on moving!

Cult movies show us the power of saying “I’m sorry!”, “I was wrong!” and forgiveness. They show us the power of love and friendship.

And they show us how to follow a vision. “Don’t give up your dream or you will die!” This is a not only a sentence, this is a metaphor for life! I’m coming across a lot of “dead” people every day. Yes, they’re are physically alive but they’re dead in their hearts and souls. Because they have lost their passions. As soon as there’s passion, there’s life! And I want to help them finding this passion again.

Therefore cult movies are timeless and ageless. You can watch them from 14 (in Germany) or 17 (in Canada/US) till 99 (if you’re an open person and did not start to raise the moral forefinger at one time in your life in order to judge about sexuality, people and behaviours).

There’s a lot more to say about those wonderful movies but that’s what I want you to find out yourself! Have fun watching!

Namaste!

Cult movies