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your thoughts: feminine sexuality & spirituality

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the women of black history month 2014

the women of black history month 2014

At sexNspirit you may always share your thoughts regarding feminine sexuality and spirituality. Yet, today you may share them with a chance to win a $25 gift card to the retailer of your choice*!  Visit here to complete a brief survey and enter the drawing.  (NOTE: The survey is for adults only – 18+ years old.)

You may also want to check out our latest newsletter that features a collage of all the women highlighted on our SoulSpace blog during February’s Black History Month.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!


*The gift card must be available to purchase in Atlanta, GA or online.

(c) 2014 candi dugas, llc

when love goes wrong



On Valentine’s Day, for those of us who don’t participate in the traditional lover’s gift exchange,
we may see plenty of self-love articles.
(I’ve written a few myself.)
This year I believe perhaps there is space, today, for sadness and grief –
without any suggestion or requirement to transform it into something more pleasant.
Not today, just because it’s V-Day.

she Cried,
Feeling the Loss of a Love
that Promised to be Destined

she Mourned,
Realizing the Hope of what was to be
will Never

she Grieved,
Understanding that the Woman she was
Before she met him –
She’ll never Know Her again

If she can Think rather than feel,
Maybe she could Celebrate
the Incredible Strength Unfolding
from all the Pain

But Not So

Not right Now

these Moments
are for Tears
and Anger
and Insulting Epithets

Perhaps tomorrow
Another Day she’ll think again,
laugh again … soften
– forgive –
and move on

“A fool for love is a fool for pain
But I refuse to love you again”
~Lisa Fischer, Lisa Melonie, Narada Michael Walden

When love begins, the possibilities are endless of what can be and how. Then the true invitation comes. G~d asks lovers to strip and grow and too many of us decline – for a host of reasons: fear, cowardice, this-isn’t-what-I-signed-up-for, etc. But love is about stripping and growing – always. There is no way around it – no matter how it lives – between parent and child, between friends or between lovers. As I’ve written before, love (especially romantic love) is designed precisely to be the one vehicle that will pierce and penetrate to the depths of our souls and wreak incredible amounts of havoc on the familiar, protected places there.

My problem with Valentine’s Day is built upon a host of mythical, romantic fantasies that belie the essence of what it means truly to love another and the vulnerability, the utter nakedness, involved in that authentic exchange. Perhaps this explanation is at the heart of why I so dislike this holiday. If V-Day was about reality, about the grittiness of love, I would have a different opinion. (To be fair, I’m adverse to most holidays which I deem to be “made-up excuses to spend money.”) Perhaps intended as days to force us to remember each other to be with each other in love – most become days in which we are forced to be, to feel and to act in ways that we wouldn’t if it weren’t for the facades we don to live up to certain expectations. Pretense is always where I get off the bus.

“[N]ot all of our loves are good, though they are loves. There are wise loves and foolish, good loves and bad, true loves and mistaken loves. The question ultimately is, what is a right love, a good, just, and true love?” ~Margaret Farley in Who Told You That You Were Naked? Black Women Reclaiming Sexual & Spiritual Goodness

Sometimes love disappoints. And it sucks. And it’s all worth it because love is not the ultimate goal or benefit of our exchanges with the other. Becoming our best selves always is. And that destination is worth everything it will ever cost us.

This Valentine’s Day I invite you not to pretend to be OK if you’re not. Be fucked up if that’s where you find yourself – BUT DO NOT be there alone. Ideally, get good, faith-based clinical help. If that’s out of reach, lean on the shoulder of a trusted friend or mentor. If you allow yourself the luxury of this pain and move through it, this time next year, your next V-Day will be a whole different story. If you do not allow it to be what it is in this moment, the chances increase greatly that 2015 will be a repeat of now.

These are my flowers and chocolate treats to you –
the reminder that roses come with thorns and candy can be bitter as well as sweet.

Love yourself. Treat yourself. Absolutely – do that. But ALWAYS be real and true!

Simply, sometimes V-Days suck.

(c) 2014 candi dugas, llc

the spirit of thanksgiving . . .

family at thanksgiving


Gratitude and its expression make all the difference in the world!

However, the holidays – even the one centered around gratitude – can be an odd time of year with any of our relationships. Since too many of us are inclined not to handle well difficulties or issues during the rest of the year, attending/hosting social gatherings tend to trigger emotions that we seem to be able to ignore or suppress better during less stressful times of the year.

Perhaps this is the greatest gift of the holidays – an opportunity to address that which we’ve been ignoring/suppressing. Psychology Today has fabulous advice on reducing anxiety during the holidays in a brief article published this week, “Healing the 3 Hidden Sources of Holiday Stress.”

You may also want to check out our other electronic publications for Thanksgiving:

I hope that the pure essence of Thanksgiving is at the center of this year’s holiday for you and yours.




(c) 2013 candi dugas, llc. All Rights Reserved.

being in love . . .

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being in love . . .

Now comes the hard part, being in love.

This phase is where the rubber meets the road and in this heated friction, too many of us leave the process – either emotionally or physically or both – ’cause ya know, it gets messy. It hurts. We think, “I don’t need this!” Right? Well, more and more I believe that the core purpose of our relationships, in whatever form (i.e., romantic, familial, that of friendship, etc.), is to help us to become better people. We are supposed to be challenged and uncomfortable in the midst of our cozy and ego-boosting feelings. (The important thing to remember in this phase of our relationships is that our experiences with each other ought to be balanced over periods of time – just enough challenge and just enough coziness.) [featured image: “couple struggling by liviu mihai at]

Romantic relationships are particularly suited for this role. We know that love causes the release of dopamine in our brains mimicking the effect of drugs and alcohol, essentially impairing our senses, lowering our defenses. We can become forgetful, unaware of our surroundings – become completely engrossed in the other person and our mutual connection. Testosterone is present in women and men, raising both sex drives. Norepinephrine may be the cause of those awkward feelings when our lover walks in the room. Oxytocin brings with it a sense of peace and connection with our partners. In this kind of space we’re rather vulnerable – exposed and feeling quite lovely – but also wide open to pain. When fear of pain presents itself, our instinctual response, right, is to protect ourselves as much as possible, even though pain is an inevitable part of life. (Read more: “Love Changes Your Body Chemistry.”)

the challenge

Right there, right there we begin to impede love’s process. We withdraw from rather than lean into the premise that our lovers are supposed to be able to bypass all the walls and armor and go straight to the heart of the matter within us to touch what needs to be (re)born, healed, matured and yes, “killed.” We spend too much time and energy avoiding true intimacy in romance because we’re avoiding vulnerability. We’re then sabotaging the very holistic progress in life most of us desire.

In our previous post, “falling in love …,” I shared my personal breakthrough via Harville Hendrix’s work, Getting the Love You Want. There is a worthy practicality to being in love. We should only BE in love with someone with whom it’s healthy to be so. See, after all the ish is exposed, we have to deal with it. Hendrix writes that our romantic partners, first, must be curious about themselves, wonder how they can become better people. Then they must be willing to support us in our fragile places. Of course, this is a mutual endeavor. So, I append to Hendrix’s list that our lovers, in addition to their willingness, must have the capacity to support us in our fragile places.

more of candi’s personal breakthrough

Then today, each day in fact, is a fresh opportunity to BE in love, to allow myself to be vulnerable with my beloved, to allow what is sometimes his mere presence to stir up meaningful discomfort within me. Alongside the discomfort he stirs up within me is the better me I can become because there’s something unique about him and our chemistry that invites me to a better place, a stronger place. While the journey to that place isn’t always pleasant, arrival is and always worth any struggle ;-)! (NOTE: Arrival is only temporary; for, as soon as we do, we realize that we’ve already embarked upon another path.)

My beloved is also my friend. As such, he brings a level of care, compassion and particular patience into my space that I need to accompany the energy that we generate together. And that’s really good stuff for which I’m incredibly grateful. ;-)

couple struggling

“couple struggling” image: liviu mihai at

Particularly challenging for me is loving him in my spaces of insecurity. I’m discovering that being love with and for him requires constant living in vulnerability. That’s very, very difficult for me because of my history of looking for romantic relationships to validate me, for my love interest (whoever that may be at the time) to create security for me. Anything external from me can never create inward security for me; even my beloved cannot do so in the dynamic and beauty of our romantic love. Only I can do that.

revelation & change

Talk about a paradigm shift! In romantic love, my elders tended to teach and condition us younger ones to make sure that love doesn’t hurt, that no one ever takes advantage of us. This really is an effort in futility and actually sabotages all our efforts to experience a loving and satisfying intimate relationship. The reality is that all humans are fallible. We make mistakes. We execute poor judgment. We screw up! And when we do, those closest to us get hurt too. That’s just the way it is. We can never have true relationship with another without intimacy, without being close to her/him, without risking the infliction of pain upon one another.

So, if I’m in an intimate relationship (romantic, familial or one of friendship) and I’m doing so without being …

vulnerable – exposed – available to be hurt …

then I’m not exhibiting love. Rather I’m exhibiting …

self-protection – hiding – avoidance.

In these contexts, not only do we prevent intimacy, such an exhibition does not progress us in the production of growth or the unfolding/evolution of our truest selves – which is the ultimate goal of these kinds of relationships, no? When we self-protect and seek external validation, etc., our goal is actually something else. Our goal is … selfish, a kind of gluttony, a hoarding of life’s goodness that only serves to oppose the love we say we want. It’s also like actually planting weeds where we say we want flowers to grow and bloom.

When the goal does not match tactics for achieving it, we will always fail. Always.

moving toward fulfillment

Perceiving and understanding BEing in love this way helps us grasp the age-old advice about loving being a selfless endeavor. Today I think of BEing in love in terms of living wholeheartedly and finding a way to do so successfully.

wholehearted living

“Honoring Brene Brown and Her Movement for Wholehearted Living” image: at

I am determined to be wholehearted. Brené Brown describes wholeheartedness as “the capacity to engage in our lives with authenticity, cultivate courage and compassion, and fully embrace … the imperfections of who we really are.” (~Maria Popova, “Brené Brown on Wholeheartedness” ) Living wholeheartedly means that everything – beautiful and unpleasant- is out front and center all the time. When I show up in life’s arena, my frailties and my strengths show up as well. “We” all stand poised for battle and whether we win or lose, we all show up again the next time. Living wholeheartedly means that it’s all okay and it’s perfectly acceptable for the world to see all of me. It means also, and probably most importantly, that I give thanks in each and every situation. Thanksgiving always supersedes fear, disappointment, guilt, shame … all that which tempts us to cover ourselves and/or not show up in the arena in the first place.

I am determined to find a way to experience the fullness of love that I seek. For a time I am adopting Diana Nyad’s

diana nyad

diana nyad – image:

mantra as my own, “Find a way.” It doesn’t matter the obstacle; there’s a way to overcome it. Find it. If there’s any role model for persevering through varied and multiple difficulties to experience triumph, it is Ms. Nyad. Her eyes display both an ability to see beyond what most others can perceive as possible and the knowledge that it’s entirely achievable to accomplish what she sees. As I write this, I recall another role model-hero who found a way, many times over – Harriet Tubman. She insisted, “If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”

harriet tubman

harriet tubman – image:

These warrior-women and I understand that wholeheartedness, finding a way and living in just “a taste of freedom” necessitate vulnerability. They necessitate risk in the face of very real danger on every side. Simply, we cannot fear or avoid pain, suffering or anything unpleasant. Stand naked in the arena. Find a way to that which we seek.

NOTE: Vulnerability does not mean allowance for or acceptance of misuse or abuse. Never does it mean that. My advocacy of vulnerability in any intimate relationship presupposes a basic, secure foundation of personal safety for everyone involved. Such a foundation includes respect for the personhood of each individual, intentions only to do good and never harm, exhibitions of integrity that include consistent honesty, full presence, genuine care, etc.

living & loving well

Possibly BEing in love in its fullest sense allows us to fall in love over and over as lovers unfold and evolve together. When this happens we get to participate with awareness that the person I was yesterday is not quite the person I am today. When we live in this space we’re less likely to take each other for granted and we allow the awe and wonder of life to engage within and between our beings.

I look forward to experiencing this beautiful process one day with my beloved, when all that is needed for this to happen for both of us converges, and I get to live in a mutual space of BEing in love for a complete season, when the hard part won’t seem so hard at all. That’s gonna be just the best!

(c) 2013 candi dugas, llc

falling in love . . .

falling in love . . .

As I recently struggled with the status of my relationship and the repetition of romantic patterns that don’t lead me to my desired result, a friend suggested, “Maybe you just like falling in love.” (featured image from

“The use of the term ‘fall’ implies that the process [of falling in love] is in some way inevitable, uncontrollable, risky, irreversible, and that it puts the lover in a state of vulnerability, . . . .” ~Wikipedia

Hmmm . . . I’ve never thought of myself as “that girl.” Well, I allowed myself to consider his suggestion because in seeking an elusive answer we have to be open to every possibility. First, I understood how my friend could think that his suggestion would fit my situation. After all, my romances lately have been limited to the falling-in-love stage. Second, I “tried on” the concept. It didn’t feel like me, though. It felt awkward, like a dress that we think might be the answer to the needed outfit for an upcoming event, but once we put it on, the fabric and the feel aren’t quite right. Third, I adjusted myself a bit in the mirror, ya know, like picking at the dress here and there to see if I altered it, would it fit better. Then I considered adding a belt or a scarf? What if I put a slip under it or wore a different bra? Nawww. Nothing worked. The dress – his suggestion – wasn’t for me. So, I took it off and handed it to the sales associate to return to the sales floor for the next woman for whom it may be a perfect fit.

Now, I’m still without a solution, without an understanding of what’s going on in this area of my life. Like my friend asked, “How is it that you’re a beast in all the other areas of your life and struggle so here?” His question made me feel like Olivia Pope. Ha! Yet if I’m true to my spiritual practices of being present, aware, conscious, mindful, assured, in the flow, etc. – then there’s actually no press to figure it all out, right? All things work together and everything happens in its time. I will know the answers I seek at just the right moment. In the meantime, I decided to be at peace in this space of perplexity (so hard for me). Lao Tzu refers to spaces like these as times when we need to “let the mud settle.” I realized that the more I sloshed around seeking answers, the murkier everything became.

lao tzu mud settling quote

image from oriah mountain dreamer’s facebook page.

Then. It. Appeared.

The mud was settling.

A few weeks ago, OWN rebroadcast a throwback episode of the The Oprah Winfrey show during its “Super Soul Sunday” series. (I’m sure I saw it back then as I was a certified Oprah-Show Junkie – but it didn’t connect with me. It wasn’t time. ;-)) Oprah’s guest was Dr. Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want. Honestly, I started not to watch, almost changed the channel. I usually find such books and their advice to be hokey, warmed over steps that the public buys into like good-luck charms or pixie dust which never truly address the root causes of our issues. Nevertheless I continued to watch as Hendrix revealed my answer right before my eyes. He explained that our unconscious selves are determined to become healed and whole. Therefore until this happens, we continually attract the same person (different body) romantically. The goal is to resolve open issues from our childhoods. The people we attract will either be like our parents or they will evoke behavior in us like what we experienced from our parents.


Just like that, the puzzle pieces fell into place. I began to understand that although I seemed to be stuck in falling-in-love mode, I was actually making progress. I realized that the men I was dating were increasingly more of what I want and need in my romantic person (a la Grey’s Anatomy). More than that, I realized that these improvements were more about my progress in healing my childhood ish than getting closer to finding the “ideal man.” (Another book that was immensely helpful which I initially resisted is If the Buddha Dated: A Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path by Charlotte Kasl.) Essentially, “I attract that which I am.” (~Deepak Chopra)

i attract what i am

image from oprah & deepak’s 21-day relationship meditation challenge

For me, the determination of my unconscious self to be healed and whole explains the inevitability, risk and vulnerability in the Wikipedia definition of falling in love. I think of one of my most favorite Michael Jackson songs, “It’s the Falling in Love.” (~David W. Foster)

“now we’re just a web of mystery
a possibility of more to come
i’d rather leave the fantasy of what might be
but here i go falling again”

And so MJ brings me back to my original quandary – after I fall in love, what’s next? How do I get to and through the next stage that will eventually lead me to my desired result? How do I resolve the struggle of constantly going around the same mountain in a seemingly endless circle? Well, that answer is about being in love – the part that makes Mr. Jackson and the rest of us “cry, cry, cry.” And that will be the subject of my next post. Until then, I continue to celebrate this revelation. Yea! Thank you, G~d!

I hope you’ll celebrate with me, but along with all that I’ve written above, I leave you with one more consideration until the next post:

“Where I am impatient I lack trust. When we have trust that the unfolding will be in alignment with life & that the impulse for right action will arise from the centre of our being, we are not impatient. Learning to let our mud settle is learning to trust the sacred life force within to prompt us when action that will make a difference can be taken. Of course, most of us can appear still & be churning up the inner mud continuously.” ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer

(c) 2013, candi dugas, llc

the right to be sexy

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the right to be sexy

I wonder how many women who marched for jobs and freedom 50 years ago and how many women who commemorated that march last weekend consciously marched for the right to be sexy.

While we may not connect the dots between civil rights and “sexy rights,” Melissa Harris-Perry connects them well in her book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America. To be sexy is to be sexually attractive or exciting. The right to be sexy is the entitlement to be simply so, without any biased and injurious judgments attached to this physical aspect of being. Perry frames the politics of being black and female in America with deeply moving creative works by some of our most prolific writers. Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is perhaps the most apt piece for this conversation. “[H]urston reveals how the politics of race and gender intersect the challenges of self-exploration,” Perry writes.

 Yes. Everything is political.

women marching for jobs and freedom

women marching for jobs and freedom in 1963. {image from}

Even my coming of age is political. (Just ask Miley Cyrus.) Especially when I mature and express in a brown body, how and when I do so seems to affect a whole lot of people. It is far from a personal matter. “[B]lack womanhood makes her vulnerable to people and systems that seek to transform her into a beast of burden,” Perry interprets of Janie, Hurston’s protagonist. While most of us as African American women may have progressed from that early 20th Century pigeon-hole, our feminine bodies still cause us to be susceptible to people and institutions that strive to morph us into what they need us to be rather than ally with us to help us develop into what we were created to be. And let’s be clear that the people and systems are not just our white sisters and brothers, African Americans detrimentally police our bodies and their expressions as well. (Just ask Meagan Good.)

miley cyrus and meagan good

miley cyrus twerking (a popular urban dance performed primarily by african american women) with robin thicke at mtv’s video music awards 2013. {image from} meagan good in the controversial dress she wore while presenting a gospel award at the bet awards 2013. {image from}

Perry argues that “Janie’s journey is political . . . because it is motivated by her refusal to accept this role.” I assert that her life-journey became political the minute that someone else was heavily invested in her personal journey, whether she accepted the role(s) they preferred/mandated for her or not. Janie, indeed, protested with a rather quiet determination to be the woman she knew inside rather than the caricatures that others drew of her, possibly so that they wouldn’t have to deal with the complexities of who she actually was.

Ladies, when we march for freedom, are we marching for the right to be sexy?

If not, we need to add this right to our agenda. Typically society brands African American women as one of three stereotypes – Jezebel (sexually loose), Mammy (asexual) or Sapphire (angry black woman). All of these labels derive from some expression of black womanhood. I don’t have much of a problem with stereotypes; I find a nugget of truthful reality in many of them. The problem is when we believe that stereotypical behavior encompasses the entire being of a person and we treat her according to this very limited understanding. Yet most of us cringe when a sistah exhibits one of these societal brands in public, knowing that her actions only serve to perpetuate a comprehensive myth. Perry nudges us toward compassion, however. “To understand why a black woman’s public actions and political strategies sometimes seem tilted in ways that accommodate the degrading stereotypes about them, it is important to appreciate the structural constraints that influence their behavior. It can be hard to stand up straight in a crooked room.”

today's jezebel, angry black woman and mammy

karrine steffans (“jezebel”), author of video vixen series {image from}; tasha smith portraying angela (“sapphire”) in the why did i get married series {image from}; viola davis portraying aibileen (“mammy”) in the help {image from}.

Ahhh, the crooked room – one of the most fascinating correlation of “cognitive psychology research on field dependence” to a social construct that I’ve ever read. The study demonstrated “how individuals locate the upright in a space.” So, Perry explains that when black women “confront race and gender stereotypes, [we] are standing in a crooked room.” We are standing in a distorted environment that can cause us to view ourselves in an inaccurate fashion. Not all of us are capable of overcoming the distortion in order to distinguish straight from crooked. Therefore, we must judge each other with great hesitance, if we judge at all. “[W]e can better understand sisters as citizens when we appreciate the crooked room in which they struggle to stand upright.” (Cued at 12:46 in the video below, Perry explains the Crooked Room Theory.)

And as full citizens, we must march for the right to be sexy . . .

Our freedom includes the right to be physically appealing in sexually attractive ways – simply to be so without any biased – crooked – judgments attached to our brown bodies and their expressions.

© 2013 candi dugas, llc

love un-conditioned, part 2

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love un-conditioned, part 2

You know you’re free. So, now what? How do you live as a free woman of faith, reclaiming your sexual and spiritual goodness in the context of un-conditioned love?

Simply, but not easily, we remove the conditions of love – conditions which tend to reflect our fears.

Many of our fears about our romantic relationships are rooted in two places – past hurts and social/religious ideals. We may move on after a break-up, but often, we carry with us its baggage. Once we engage with someone new, we hope our current lover will redeem all that the former ones screwed up. When we perceive that he’s showing signs of veering into that potentially hurtful lane, we react, usually before anything actually happens. So, we impose all kinds of conditions (i.e., rules and regulations) that we believe will keep him in the safe lane – safe for us, not him. This kind of feminine safety net feeds into the prescriptive rhetoric which society and religion promulgate to women. We women buy into their recipes (i.e., laws, doctrine and dogma) for virtue, respect and goodness because we believe doing so will garner the kinds of affirmation, esteem and status we seek. This belief has a public value for which we look to a private situation, our romantic relationships, to provide. Seeking public validation from something quite private is inherently problematic, setting up a condition in which true love (i.e., orthoeros) will never flow. (Orthoeros is great erotic love. To read more, please see “we gotta cum 2! feminine orgasm doesn’t think like a lady … or act like a man (nsfw).”)

Removing the conditions of love means that we truly know who we are as women in this moment. We name and own what we want and why we want it. (e.g., We do not look for a man to provide that which should come from ourselves or G~d.) We create mutually safe space in communication with and connection to our lovers for orthoeros to flow. In this kind of space, our bliss can thrive and there is no need for conditions because there is no fear. Un-conditioned love can operate from an inner freedom and a fearlessness (See “love un-conditioned, part 1.”) that allows a great, magnanimous love to abound between lovers, almost effortlessly.

love is unconditional quote from love is facebook page

“love is . . . unconditional!” Image source: Love Is Facebook Page

But these rules and regulations have kept us safe and secure all this time, right? Yes and no. Let’s consider a couple of realities about rules and regulations. One reality is that even with conditions we sometimes still get hurt, because with pleasure comes pain. No law, doctrine or dogma can prevent pain. They don’t necessarily minimize the risk either. So, therefore if the fruitless avoidance of pain is our goal with the use of conditions, then, there must be a better way to love and be loved. We must seek a more authentic, lasting path to emotional and psychological security than the logic of pre-determined, cookie-cutter boundaries that break when pushed too far like weak levees in a hurricane.

Another reality about what we believe has kept us safe is that what works for one season of our lives doesn’t necessarily work for or is even required in another. Once we heal from an injury, do we still need the crutches to help us walk without falling? Are training wheels still necessary to keep us on our bicycles? Do we still need safety latches for ourselves in our adult homes to prevent us from getting into something that we don’t know how to use properly? As we heal and as we grow and mature, we need fewer and fewer conditions to keep us safe. Healed and whole, grown and mature – we now have agency, autonomy and an increase in our authority to love and be loved in ways that work for us – even if these ways work for no one else but ourselves and our lovers.

usa's declaration of independence

USA’s Declaration of Independence. Image source:

Un-conditioned love requires a kind of independence that, unfortunately, is deemed radical. Perhaps this is why I’ve chosen this post to be our 4th of July offering. (albeit 20 days after the holiday) Radicals dared to tell a world superpower, as their right, that they were no longer required to act according to the institution’s authority because the institution had become unjust. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed this right, explained why and listed the institution’s violations of justice. (Simultaneously, these radicals oppressed our ancestors, but that’s a path of discussion for another post.)

If you were to pen your own declaration of independence, what would you proclaim, justify and charge?

Mine would be something like:

As I live I realize the necessity to sever ties with social and religious ideals and to accept my agency, autonomy and authority as a daughter of this world, completely equal to every other creation in worthiness to assert my needs and desires to live a blissful life, full of sexual and spiritual goodness. … The history of my people, and therefore of me, is one of incessant afflictions and abductions, all with the clear disdain for and connected goal of solidifying a control over my body and its activities. To prove this, let the record show to an unbiased universe: (in my Claire Hanks Huxtable voice)

– Failure to allow me to be anything other than a stereotyped myth as evidenced by the percentage of black women in leadership positions and the roles available to black actors. I am profiled either a Jezebel (sexually immoral), a Mammy (asexual and familial) or a Sapphire (perpetually angry).

– Refusal to appreciate, learn and maintain the knowledge about my aesthetic as evidenced by the incessant questions about my hair length and texture, ridicule of the beauty processes and products I use, lack of faces and bodies that look like me to be  upheld as an epitome of beauty and lack of fashionista clothing that easily fit my body types.

– Annihilation of the vitality of my black brothers as evidenced by the disproportionately low high school graduation rates, high incarceration rates and low percentages of black males in leadership positions. Most of us want romantic relationships with our brothers, but without their freedom and vitality this desire becomes impossible to realize, leaving us without the good lovin’ that every human needs to thrive.

Declaring independence invites some sort of risk. However, “I prefer a dangerous freedom over peaceful

slavery.” (~Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Page) Are those our only two options – dangerous freedom or peaceful slavery? As a proponent of “the third way,” I declare that there is another option – being somewhere in between the two extremes. However, I find this 3rd option to be unacceptable; I liken it to Yeshua’s description of what it means to be lukewarm. (Revelation 3:15-16) I also believe in balance and continua, but regarding the foundational aspects of who we are and how we live our lives, we must make definitive choices in order to live with vitality and relevance, hallmarks of sexual and spiritual goodness.

The greatest risk yields the greatest return on our investment. And it is ours to make, from a sense of inner freedom. Reliance on outer freedom is often illusory, focusing on others – namely our lovers – to provide the kind of return we seek (e.g., emotional and psychological security). This focus is actually counterproductive as it strangles our inner freedom and clogs our romantic flow, preventing us from being fully present in our romantic relationships. We must come to a point of relying less on another person for our inner senses of security so that we can love unconditionally.

“[Y]ou cannot depend upon anybody. There is only you – your relationship with others and with the world. . . . When you realise this, it either brings great despair, from which comes cynicism and bitterness, or, in facing the fact that you and nobody else are responsible for the world and for yourself, for what you think, what you feel, how you act, all self-pity goes. Normally we thrive on blaming others, which is a form of self-pity.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known, p. 15)

Is this post sucking the rose colored tint from your glasses? Actually, I hope it is … and replacing it with an organic appreciation of reality that includes the beauty of social- and religious-deemed imperfections that only clear glasses can bring. You know, we kinda get off on bragging about the trustworthiness of our partners, setting them on high pedestals as if such loftiness is a badge of honor for ourselves. We become great because another finds us so worthy and special that their love for us overrides any human frailty within their being. Has this badge of honor become our love-goal in relationships? I hope not. I hope that we’re brave enough to love radically as I’ve described because on the other side will be a freer love than we’ve ever known. On the other side of this incredible risk, with our lovers, we will be present, supportive, caring – we will love fully, not out of obligation, but out of choice.

beauty of fearless love quote from

“The beauty of fearless love is in allowing it to unfold . . . & to become its unique essence, just for these lovers, just for right now.”
© 2013

Love is the absence of fear, conditions and obligation.

 Love is the presence of confidence, requests and choice.

When we love freely by letting go of our fear, conditions and obligations – we experience the tremendous energy of un-conditioned love.

“We look to someone to tell us what is right or wrong behaviour, what is right or wrong thought, and in following this pattern our conduct and our thinking become mechanical, our responses automatic.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known, pp. 9-10)

Don’t we owe more to the beauty and mystery of love and sexuality than mechanics and automation?

Inspiring Quotes:

  • “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “Abandonment. In my search for emotional peace [after experiencing abandonment], I have learned that many choices we make are based on our capacity. I came to the conclusion that my stepfather cut ties with me, not because he was a bad man or that I was unloveable, it just meant he was limited. He made a choice that fit his capacity. This experience taught me how love MUST take weight, and love is about working with the complexities relationships sometimes deliver. … People may be limited, but we are still…lovable. ~Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Post, 19 June 2013
  • “She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go. She let go of the fear.  . . .  She didn’t ask anyone for advice.  . . .  She didn’t promise to let go.  . . .  She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.  . . .  No one was around when it happened.  . . .  There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that. In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.” ~Rev. Safire Rose

To Read More:

(c) 2013 candi dugas, llc


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