Unfinding our Identities

dreamstime_xl_16465689.jpg Are our LGBT identities who we truly are? Are there deficiency stories hooked into them (e.g., “I’m not acceptable”)? Can true acceptance ever be found outside ourselves? The Living Inquiries release the emotional sting that comes from clinging too tightly to these mental stories (without denying the natural expression of love, sex, femininity, and masculinity in everyday life). From time to time, I will post dialogues and articles related to using the Inquiries on tightly-held LGBT identities and the deficiency stories that are often linked to them.




LGBT Living Inquiries Facilitators

LGBT Living Inquiries Facilitators

Meet the Facilitators. I’m happy to introduce you to the LGBT Living Inquiries Facilitators.  These facilitators are trained in the Living Inquiries, which are the tools you see featured on this page, “Unfinding Identities.”  Each of them are highly skilled and each are LGBT.  You can bring anything to these facilitators and they can help you undo the Velcro Effect in it, including deficiency stories (e.g., “I’m unlovable,” “I’m unacceptable,” “I’m not safe”), beliefs around homophobia, sexuality, and gender, issues around sex addiction or other addictions, fear or anxiety-producing thoughts, and even LGBT identities themselves.  Any of these can create suffering when there is a strong identification with them.  These facilitators use the tools in my book, “Living Relationship,” found at www.livingrelationship.org and “Natural Rest for Addiction” (coming soon).       Sabin Epstein Sabinreese@hotmail.com “For me, the Living Inquiries are a way of looking–at identity, concepts, objects and seeing –and feeling–through my assumptions and long held beliefs of what I thought I knew to be true about me, about my world, about what lies ahead in the future. The sense of separateness, “otherness,” the belief that “there’s something wrong with me” have been evaporating with LI.  They’re just thoughts attached to energy–and I can’t find any of those identites when I truly stop, rest and look.  When a sensation arises “telling” me I’m in danger, I can’t trust or I’m not safe, I’m aware that it’s energy I’m experiencing, not “reality.” Images from the past–being bullied, rejected, criticized, condemned–are now images and not “reality.”  I experience my life with greater presence and greater awareness–and its on-going.  There’s no “there” to get to–just emotions, sensations, feeling & energy velcroed to words and images waiting to be questioned.   Lisa Meuser llmeuser@me.com www.integrativehealingnow.com Lisa is a certified Living Inquires Facilitator as well as a somatic therapist. She invites others from the LGBT community to explore her web site and contact her if they are inspired to look into their own deficiency stories, beliefs, and/or release past trauma.   “These days, my sexual preference of bisexual feels neutral- not good or bad, but instead simply what is.  Doing inquiry helped me see through old or lingering identities/belief systems that I had attached to the idea of sexuality. Ultimately, it has allowed me to experience sexual freedom- to be who I am,...

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Undoing the Velcro Effect of Internalized Homophobia

Undoing the Velcro Effect of Internalized Homophobia

Internalized homophobia is a certain kind of fear-based Velcro Effect (explained below) that mainly LGBT people experience.  Internalized homophobia refers to societal negative stereotypes, beliefs, stigma, and prejudice about LGBT people that are consciously or unconsciously internalized by a person who is LGBT. The degree to which someone is affected by these ideas depends on how much and which ideas they have internalized. Sometimes internalized homophobia shows up as outright self-hatred.  “I hate myself for being gay.”  In other situations, where one has worked through self-loathing to a large degree by coming out and gaining acceptance from friends and family members, the internalized homophobia is much more subtle, appearing like a shadow projected onto others who are perceived to be judgmental towards you, a LGBT person.  “I accept myself but they don’t accept me.”  That’s still a lack of self-acceptance, no matter how cleverly the mind tries to disguise it as someone else’s problem In the Living Inquiries, we use the term “Velcro Effect” to describe the experience of thoughts (i.e., words and pictures) feeling stuck to bodily energies (i.e., emotions and sensations).  Let’s say you are sitting with a friend and he criticizes you, calling you lazy.  You instantly feel defensive as his critical words replay themselves over and over in your head.  You find yourself swimming in stories of self-judgment and anger for the rest of the day.  You hear thoughts like, “He doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about,” “I’m not lazy,” and “Maybe he is right, maybe I’m depressed.”  As those thoughts arise, you feel tightness in your stomach and anger in your chest.  The experience of those thoughts arising with the bodily energies of tightness and anger is the Velcro Effect.  The Velcro Effect is, essentially, self-identification.  It’s old conditioning resurfacing, often as a response to a trigger happening in your immediate environment. Read More Growing up gay, before coming out, I experienced the Velcro Effect quite often, in sometimes very palpable and scary ways, when I felt uncomfortable in my own skin about being gay.  That was more like the “outright self-hatred” version.  But I also remember, long after coming out, walking into restaurants with my boyfriend in the Midwest and feeling as if the eyes around me were judging us.  This kind of internalized homophobia wasn’t as obvious.  It didn’t look like my problem.  They were judging ME.  The thoughts and feelings were much more subtle.  Truth is, I was judging myself still.  This was internalized homophobia, too ugly for me to accept within myself, so I projected it onto others. Some of the people around me may have been, in fact, judging us.  But why did it bother me...

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I’m Ashamed of My Gay Son – An Inquiry

I’m Ashamed of My Gay Son – An Inquiry

In this inquiry from the book, I help Tom to use the UI on his son, Brandon, who has just announced to the family that he is gay. Tom challenges his most deeply held assumptions about his son, and about gay people and women in general. Tom: My son, Brandon, just told me he is gay and I believe that homosexuality is wrong. I knew when he was a kid that he was more feminine than other boys. I put it out of my mind. I wanted him to “man up.” But he didn’t. I’m wondering if I did something wrong, if I didn’t father him correctly. Scott: Can you find your son? Tom: Yes, he’s my son, of course I can. He has lived with me all his life. I know him really well. Scott: I didn’t ask whether you know him or have lived with him. I asked whether you can find him. Is the thought “Brandon” your son, Brandon? Tom: No, that’s just the name we gave him at birth. Scott: Is the thought “son” him? Tom: No, just a word. Scott: Is the thought, “Brandon is gay” your son? Tom: Yes, that feels like him. And it doesn’t feel good at all. Scott: Whenever a thought feels like your son, it just means you are referring to a memory of him. And as that thought comes up, there is some emotion or sensation happening in your body along with it. These emotions and sensations are not always conscious. In other words, we aren’t directly aware of them. So become aware of them now. What emotion or sensation happens when you think the thought, “Brandon is gay?” Tom: Sadness and a bit of embarrassment, and shame for feeling embarrassed. Scott: Is the word “sadness” your son, Brandon. Tom: No, that’s just a word. Scott: How about the words “embarrassment” and “shame?” Are those words your son? Take your time. Really stare at each thought until it begins to fade. Tom: No, just words. Scott: Then just let those words fall away. Bring attention into your body and really feel directly what shame and embarrassment feel like when you aren’t placing words on those energies. Tom: Yeah, I’m feeling that. It feels very uncomfortable. I can see myself wanting to escape these feelings. Scott: When you aren’t labeling it, is that energy in your body your son, Brandon? Tom: No, those are just feelings. Scott: Let those feelings relax on their own, as if you have no agenda to push them away or make them stay. Tom: As soon as I felt them, they became more intense. I saw a desire to get out of my body...

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