The Beautiful Suffering

Could the wounded human love story be the tearing open of the bud to a truly Divine Romance?

Huge, hard, kinky, tantra, boots and whips and puppies. Ice creams, gags, wax and weird conjugations of the kundalini…. since when did sensuality form this venomous helix with suffering? And where, on our wounded Earth, is all this going to end?

fingers3

Is it a secret to say that for so many of us those precious, early tones of longing for love got warped somewhere: on the dating scene, in marriage, in the loneliness of this modern three-way hi-way adventure in the bad, bad honeylands of craving? And if so, what next?

Out here in expat-land, on the frontiers of the new, ‘unshackled’ humanity, there’s plenty of talk about finding Love, but not much time for making it. Meanwhile, we bud into tribes of vegans, yogis, crusaders for animal rights, poets, ayahuasca junkies, singers and yes – ecstatic, sexy dancers.

The love-scene here’s as sad and demented as it is at your place. A hit and run sexuality spiced by fetish, lust and lonliness leaves its blue fingerprints on throats and hearts among us – just like everywhere else!

Tantra, Tinder, a wild imbalance of the genders, and this so-called ‘adult’ sex scene, which dabbles in the, errr… quixotic, leads to all manner of cringe.

dating

There’s no topic more deeply poured over in Ubud, anyway, as love. Or the lack of. Except maybe sex – and the unreliability of.

Beyond the norms of our home towns, ex-patriots everywhere explore free-range landscapes for new ideas in relationship, food, sex, money, health and spirit. But love – where to look? And beyond the luscious orgies of superfoods and smoothies, body oil and massage – how to nourish our longing for sensuality?

If they are honest, the free-rangers can report that changes of scenery and of lovers do nothing, actually, for a humanity deep in the lairs of depression. Erotica, gluttony, porn, lust and tantra promise a ‘purer’ exchange of the ecstatic, but more often mix a bitter cocktail.

I’m all for erotica… I’m cautiously for Sex San Frontiers, but does that really mean cocks and racks and candle wax? Does it mean that blokes really marry bitches, and women need to date like a man, and that adultery, one night highs and the grotesque, deformed expression of sexuality portrayed today in advertising are actually even satisfying?

burger   fashion

In the void of Love,it looks to me like delight and suffering have formed a most treacherous alliance.

On the churning seas of erotica, the lighthouse of sensuality is terribly eclipsed. Our boats of tenderness are adrift in a sea of chemistry and propaganda – so, where, oh where, is that safe harbour of the intimate?

Monogamy? Monogamy only recently received an exit visa from the wastelands of ‘old-fashioned’.

marriage egg

Marriage, of course, is recovering from a stab to the liver.

On this note, imagine if you will, marriage as the creation of a third living entity – a wedded ‘us’ as Joseph Campbell writes about. If this is so, then the recent destruction of so many unions through an orgy of divorce was one of the greatest recent acts of symbolic genocide on Earth. As we sought our individual power, and freedom from unholy unions, the sacred bond of marriage – laid open for refining in the 1960’s, was filleted by ‘progress’.

Marriage didn’t fail, it was hunted down at a delicate moment and slaughtered by economics, politics, Nestle, Ford and Unilever, who used it to enslave us all to suds and Saabs and sugar.

All this instilled a bitterness toward love that wept down three generations. And still, the casualties from millions of unions fear the fields of love are mined.

sad marriage

Yet we make this epic migration, beyond the golden band toward lasting human tenderness, don’t we? And perhaps this is our triumph.

Along the way, we find in casual liaisons a cortisone for longing.

We find in a bent erotics the claws to scratch our itch.

We discover, in our precarious courtships, that the seas of love are muddy.

Men blame women. Women blame men. We all blame social constructs and ‘stress and pressure’. Our confusion is irritated constantly as porn exploits this rift throubeer mangh fashion, ‘art’, music, cinema – everything!

Our own ideas of the erotic? Of sensuality? Of love? They are warped every day by a vile collage of images hurled out by a society deeply estranged from tenderness.

Romance? She hardly dares produce a single rose.

Sensuality, I’ve been told, is  ‘needy’.

Intimacy, her clingy cousin.

Together they are accused of setting traps in the pleasurelands – traps which glitter magically when exposed to that special light given off by perceived attempts at ‘commitment’.

And while the notion of the beloved has come under deep suspicion, except in the most poetic terms, along that squinted eye a profound and lovely teardrop trembles.

tear

Here in Ubud, and in so many places, men hunt women openly, and rack them up as ‘friends with benefits’, or friends whose benefits are in decline. People craving love, but suspicious of its demands instead stalk ‘encounters’ – leaving 52 shades of misery across the fields of our desire.

Women? Women crave to be chosen, to know they are chosen, and also to be craved. In these strange hunting grounds the rites of intimacy have shriveled into a mutual feast of predator and prey.

All of which, as we know, only sharpens the scythe of loneliness.

One balm for this, and evidence of our seeking, is the extraordinary new bond so many have found with animals.

There is en mass, across the world a deep wail issuing from all humanity about the suffering of animals. In them we have – at last – found a mirror for our souls, the true and living symbol of our grief, and our love and tenderness. In their stories we have found the call to scream our heartfelt  Noooooo!

orangutan   chicken   bull  dog

Animals are the excruciating image of the faces we dare not show. They are the image of our own innocence, loyalty, tenderness – of the love we had forgotten.

In pets we have found companionship beyond our hopes for marriage. And in the cruelty we do dogs, and elephants, whales and dolphins – even cattle, sheep and chickens, we see the reflection of our own wounds, and the urgent call to make amends.

sad elephant

And in so doing, we find in ourselves this deep and healing wail. This agony of guilt and sorrow and rage for all we have done in our conquering of Earth, to ourselves, and each other – through which we are crucified and raised up a level in awareness.

And right here – don’t miss it – there is a widening of compassion, a re-connection to nature, a chance for humanity, again, to feel the sentience of all souls. There is a magic beyond logic, beyond judgement – a truly holy eclipse of ‘I’.

Where we have lost each other, we may yet find a truly divine romance.

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8 thoughts on “The Beautiful Suffering

  1. Jade – my dear friend – you had so much inspired me to start writing my own story, having me believe I actually had “talent” – until I read this posting!!! Now I know that I could never produce anything remotely approaching this level of art – and art in its purest form it is (to me, anyway). Your pain and anguish is screaming out between the lines – I hear you, sister.

    1. Hello hello hello!!! How wonderful to hear from you. Now don’t be silly Ingrid – you have all the Write Stuff – just settle down to it and the story will unfold its thorns and curls and petals.

      How is the slipper-eater?

      My Princess, I hope, is safely in the loving arms of her new mummy, but I sometimes wake up thinking she’s here in whichever bed I’m in.

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words, and for taking the time to fly them all the way from Cuenca – I miss it there too, and wish you well.
      Now – off you go – and write. xxxx
      Jade x

  2. You put an interesting argument here, one that needs wide readership. The Ubud specifics you cite are unknown to me (I am renowned as blind to the private silliness of others, preferring my own) but the picture you paint is just about ubiquitous. Or it was when I was trying not to be a lad.

    I think you’re right about the world (the Western portion of it at least) having lost touch with genuine intimacy. Modern mass media and the ill-informed prattle of much social media has killed the understanding that there can be real (cerebral) intimacy in non-sexual relationships. You’re right too about the soft-porn pitch of the advertising industry. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing in itself, but on the other hand cute=titter=unnecessary prurience is tedious and mind-bending.

    You have a great narrative under way here. I look for more of it. I’ve reblogged this one.

    1. Thank you Richard – always a pleasure to hear from you, and also, to refine these ideas in discussion.
      I think the mass media is lost in a sort of soft porn fest, yes – but that is really driven by advertisers who are, I believe, more cunning than journalists.
      There’s plenty more to explore on the topic of intimacy – I’m afraid it is destined to end with ‘God and Stuff….’

      Oh, and what was it you said I was again?
      That word I didn’t know?
      Do you recall?

      1. You don’t have to be very bright to be more cunning than journalists.

        I do share your apprehension over the godly destination of discussion on intimacy. Quite like suddenly finding yourself at Gare d’Est when you were quite sure the train of thought you were on was going to Gare du Nord. You’re still in Paris, but not where you want to be.

        I’ll think about what I said you were. It’s in the cerebral CPU somewhere.

        🙂

  3. Reblogged this on 8degreesoflatitude and commented:
    Jade Richardson puts an interesting argument here, one that needs wide readership. The Ubud specifics she cites are unknown to me (I am renowned as blind to the private silliness of others, preferring my own) but the picture she paints is just about ubiquitous. Or it was when I was trying not to be a lad.

    I think she’s right about the world (the Western portion of it at least) having lost touch with genuine intimacy. Modern mass media and the ill-informed prattle of much social media has also killed the understanding that there can be real (cerebral) intimacy in non-sexual relationships. She’s right too about the soft-porn pitch of the advertising industry. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing in itself, but on the other hand cute=titter=unnecessary prurience is tedious and mind-bending.

    There’s a great narrative under way here. I look for more of it.

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