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your thoughts: feminine sexuality & spirituality

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!

best,
candi

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

(c) 2014 candi dugas, llc

love un-conditioned, part 2

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: founding.com

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 candidugas.com

“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 candidugas.com

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

love un-conditioned, part 1

love un-conditioned, part 1

This post was written by candi dugas (sexNspirit) with contributions from I. Malik Saafir. To check out his commemoration of Juneteenth, visit his blog.

What does it really take to reclaim sexual and spiritual goodness? It takes unconditional love, which requires an inner freedom, which is true freedom that more of us ought to nurture. This year’s Juneteenth remembrance inspires me to encourage more of us to create and maintain inner freedom.

In her article that commemorates the two-year delay in our ancestors receiving word of the Emancipation Proclamation, Kelly Brown Douglas reflects on inner freedom. She believes inner freedom allowed our ancestors to endure the brutal realities of physical enslavement. That inner peace was comprised of the psychological and emotional strength to prevent imprisonment of their souls by the dread of chattel slavery and the stifling longing to be physically free.

Today, there is still a delay in our complete freedom from the trappings of white privilege, heterosexism, patriarchy

bills regulate womens's bodies, not men's

image from facebook.com

and global capitalism. We must remember that reclaiming sexual and spiritual goodness as a single woman (of faith) is not just about the freedom to get our freak on. We really are talking about a matter of social justice. Essentially we become social activists, awakened to the very personal consequential entrapments of greed, hostile fear and delusion that continue to plague Western Christianity and our society at-large. Yes, it reaches into our bedrooms (or wherever we choose to express love intimately). When white men legislate (control) via extreme limitations on women’s choices for unwanted pregnancies, we institutionalize the hostile ideologies of a few who fear losing power. Until we know that these men’s actions are motivated by greed (i.e., male-proclaimed ownership, male-indulged imaging and male-driven over-consumption of a womans sexuality and reproductive organs) and hostile fear (i.e., threat of losing the power and profit gained from defining and controlling an other’s [womans] body), we live as deluded women (i.e., seeing ourselves only through the lenses of gender stereotypes determined by men).

This kind of social activism is sacred; for, we know that a society can not sustain an outward, just revolution until the individuals within that society experience an inward revolution. The inward revolution happens when we become free from our personal greed, fear-driven hostility and delusion. Yes, we women are susceptible to internalizing the same privileged trappings that we fight against. Yet we can resist this kind of bondage (burden) by nurturing our true (inner) freedom, a change which happens and moves from the inside-out. Let’s stop participating in the delay of our own freedom to live fully into our sexual and spiritual goodness.

 This is my “Juneteenth” announcement to you:

You are free … and you have been for quite some time.

“When you reject something false which you have been carrying about with you for generations, when you throw off a burden of any kind, what takes place? You have more energy, haven’t you? You have more capacity, more drive, greater intensity and vitality. . . .

[W]hen you have thrown it off and have this energy in which there is no fear at all – no fear of making a mistake, no fear of doing right or wrong . . . That energy itself produces the radical inward revolution. You do not have to do a thing about it.

So you are left with yourself, and that is the actual state for a [woman] to be who is very serious about all this; and as you are no longer looking to anybody or anything for help, you are already free to discover. And when there is freedom, there is energy; and when there is freedom [with integrity], it can never do anything wrong. . . .

You are free and from that centre you act. And hence there is no fear, and a mind that has no fear is capable of great love. And when there is love it can do what it will.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known, p. 18)

 

 Now, live into that freedom!

But, how? 😉 Well, that’s part two of this post which we’ll publish for our country’s 4th of July holiday – how to practice this freedom (goodness) by removing the conditions of love.

In the meantime, to read more about reclaiming our sexual and spiritual goodness as women of faith, click here to get your copy today of Who Told You That You Were Naked? Black Women Reclaiming Sexual & Spiritual Goodness. Only $14.99, paperback or $9.99, Kindle.

 To Read More:

NOTE: The featured image is from the internet, specific site unknown – please note the artist’s signature.

(c) 2013 candi dugas, llc

father knows best

father knows best

Though I watched a lot of TV growing up, I do not recall ever wishing that my nuclear family dynamics were like the fictional ones I viewed faithfully each week. I never wished my dad was like Jim Anderson (“Father Knows Best”), James Evans, Sr. (“Good Times”) or Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable (“The Cosby Show”).

classic family tv shows

“Father Knows Best” image from ctva.biz; “Good Times” image from smokingsection.uproxx.com; “The Cosby Show” image from tvshowsondvd.com

All of these fathers were present in their homes, married to the mothers; mine was not. However, I only wanted to see more of William Lee Dugas, II (“Billy”). I didn’t necessarily have to live with him or have him be married to my mom. I knew my family was different because I connected with Ann Romano’s single-mom household (“One Day at a Time”) in ways that I never did with other shows. And I was okay with that difference.

one day at a time

Image from amazon.com

Living at least half of my childhood with Deacon Julius Brown, my maternal grandfather, I experienced the love,

Granddaddy

Granddaddy (in his 80s)

strong discipline, guidance, high expectations and encouragement for achieving excellence that we look for from our fathers (figures). Deference to his patriarchy was something I honored and respected while vowing my home would be different when I became an adult. There was a sense that he knew best as the man of the household, the breadwinner, etc. He was father enough for all of his grandchildren whose own dads were in various ways and degrees absent from our lives. I spent two decades not aware that I was missing anything from Billy’s absence.

Not until I was a young adult in and just beyond college did I begin to experience the results of Billy not being present in my life on a daily basis. In those years, somehow, I came to an understanding that no one could be close to me without being close to me. His seasonal visits became an insufficient proximity to claim appropriate parental intimacy and authority to dole out advice about any subject – major or minor. I was incredibly bothered by it all and for years I didn’t understand why. For years I struggled with our conflict and the search for some kind of resolution that would end our estrangement and which necessitated the notion of forgiveness which seemed to be perpetually elusive.

That struggle turned out to be my foundational lesson on forgiveness.

So, this Father’s Day as I read posts and comments on social media which represent the diverse experiences we all have with fatherhood, I share my story with Billy. With him I learned that forgiveness cannot be rushed. With him I learned that we all love differently and that we should strive to be in a place to accept another’s love for what it is, not what we need it to be. (I’m still mastering this lesson.) Of course, all of these lessons and understandings are important as we consider our sexuality and spirituality and engaging with others intimately.

Below is a reflection I wrote a few days before Billy died in 2005. I included it within the worship bulletin of his memorial service. I pray that it blesses even more hearts and souls. 😉

Mending That Which Has Been Broken:
From candi to Billy

Billy holding baby candi

Billy holding baby candi.

So many thoughts flood my soul right now – as a journey comes to an end, the journey of a father/daughter relationship. The final leg of this journey began about one year ago when Daddy was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer. With surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation the doctors predicted his life could be extended up to two years. Without treatment, the time would be less. Wanting to live as long as possible, Daddy opted for the treatment – and extended his time with us for about a year.

Traditionally, most families do not discuss the causes of a loved one’s physical death or the challenging times leading up to it, but since when am I a traditionalist? (I wonder where that comes from?) Anyway, my non-traditional ways are always rooted in thoughtful reasoning. Funerals, homegoing/memorial services, and celebrations of life really are more for those of us left on earth than it is for the soul that has returned to its Creator. So, here we go . . .

On these pages I am sharing more than what is traditionally revealed – the real deal – as my dad always encouraged me to do my whole life. My prayer is that Daddy’s and my testimony ministers to your soul and especially speaks to any of you who still may be experiencing broken relationships with anyone on any level. Know that with G~d there is always hope and opportunity for anything broken – even shattered – to be mended.

Childhood Memories – the Beginning of a Journey
As a child, truly, I was a daddy’s girl. I simply and utterly adored my daddy. I remember my stomach being tied in knots for weeks when I anticipated my visits with him. Our times together were filled with sooo much fun. I loved meeting all of his friends and being introduced as his daughter. Daddy seemed to know everybody. And everybody seemed to love him – and I was his daughter. That made me someone special!

During Daddy’s last stay at the Macon Medical Center, I was reminded of one of those fun times. Charles Hicks had called me to tell me that he was going to spend the night with Daddy at the Center. This same night, one of Charles’ sons hooked up a video game so he and Daddy could play Monday Night Football. This video game story conjured up a memory that I had not remembered in a while.

When I was about my daughter’s age, I recall visiting Daddy at 201 Georgia Ave. in Fort Valley (GA). Often Charles would come from Reynolds and the three of us would stay up until 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning playing Daddy’s video game system that he bought from Sears. We played so long and hard that we developed calluses on our thumbs! What a great memory!

I also remember that if my dad was anything, he was COOL! He loved music and cars and gadgets – what else could you ask

DJ candi

DJ candi

for in a father? Daddy not only taught me how to drive, he taught me to drive a stick! And because of him I received my FCC license, allowing me to be a disc jockey. Daddy taught me how to mix music and make tapes. How cool is it for your dad to be a DJ and to be the voice announcing the exciting half-time shows of the Fort Valley State Wildcats!

As a child, for me, there was no greater knowledge than being Billy Dugas’ daughter.

Times Change
These sweet, sweet memories all happened before I entered college. While Daddy was the one to escort me to my freshman year at the University of Florida, he did not continue to support me beyond that. While I was at UF I learned of his substance abuse and our relationship was strained for many years thereafter. During this estranged time we struggled . . . hard – apart and together. When we did talk, he sought assurance that I knew he loved me. Looking back, I don’t think that I ever doubted he loved me. My problem lied in the question, “Does he know how to love me?”

Billy with candi at her college graduation.

Billy with candi at her college graduation.

The easy answer to that question is, “No.” The more complex, but more accurate, answer lies in a Revelation that invites me to consider my expectations of how he should love me as a father. My prayers to G~d about mending, about healing, my relationship with Daddy were answered with the adjustment of my expectations through understanding and accepting Daddy for who he was. Fundamentally and holistically who he was – no more – no less. My prayers were answered by deciding that I would no longer expect from a human being that which should come from G~d – or from myself.

I am more than grateful to G~d that in the end I finally understood my struggle and the source of my anger. The source was never his habit, as Daddy was convinced, and the source was never him. The source was an imbalance between my expectations and reality. When G~d finally led me to this place of true understanding, I could absolutely release the struggle and the anger – forever. I was able to receive my dad’s love for me unconditionally. (Later, as I cleaned out his apartment, among his things, I even found evidence of his sincere and deep love for me.)

Insight on Timing and Forgiveness
Always know that G~d’s timing is impeccable. The intensity of my struggle all those years was magnified by my resistance of it. I wanted to know so badly why things were the way they were – so the struggle could be over. Yet G~d only provided a little bit of revelation here and there, scattered over the years. When I needed to know it all, I did. I am convinced that I could not have handled all the truth – all at one time.

Also I need y’all to know that you cannot rush or force forgiveness. Forgiveness is truly a miraculous gift from G~d. This is not an argument to encourage the harboring of grudges because G~d is clear that we are to forgive those who mistreat us, just as G~d forgives our mistreatment of G~d. However, as human beings, forgiveness of deep hurts is not a simple matter and G~d realizes this. That kind of forgiveness requires a process and G~d honors a sincere effort. Honor yourself as well as the other person and don’t rush it – or else both of you could end up far more wounded than you were initially. In the end I forgave my father and myself for any shortcomings and their consequences attached to our relationship. Only from this forgiveness and release could I stand and be a loving, compassionate part of his final days on earth.

Assuming Responsibility
Several times during these final days when I had to do something hard and I sought out family and/or friends to accompany me, for various reasons, they were unavailable. Certainly, G~d needed me to complete these tasks relying only on G~d’s help. My sole reliance upon G~d in those matters was significant. In those difficult times – wow – I was so keenly aware of G~d’s presence – a warm, enveloping and embracing presence, the sense of cool air surrounding my shoulders, the unmistakable peace that filled my soul . . . Truly, even when others did accompany me, at the end of the day, still it was just me going through the papers. Still it was just me making the decisions. (Constantly I always hoped and prayed that I was making the right ones.)

Often there were poignant moments in which I realized the gravity of what I was doing. One of those times occurred during my final visit to Daddy’s apartment in Macon; I was keenly aware that it was the last time. This knowledge added a weight, an implication that I was not conscious of before that day. Walking through the rooms, placing items in boxes – or in trash bags, I remember asking myself, “How do you pack up a man’s life?”

In the end, Daddy didn’t have much in the way of material possessions – at least according to the world’s standards. He lost most of that over the last 20 years, a consequence of all kinds of reasons. Yet the worth contained in the items he did have is invaluable. The pictures, the letters, the trophies, the mementos, and of course, the vast vinyl record collection.

How do you pack up those things that meant so much to him?
How do you pack up a man’s life?

How does a person step in (back in) another person’s life, deciding what to do with this? What to do with that?

How do you pack up a man’s life?

Certainly, Daddy and I discussed the fact that he was leaving all of his possessions to me, for me to do with them what I thought best. Yet his specific guidance with this inheritance was limited. In fact, he admitted to me that he could avoid making the tough decisions by assigning the decision making to me. Classic Billy. Ya gotta love him, though.

Classic candi, conversely, is to accept the challenge, boosted in ego and confidence to take on such an awesome task. Simultaneously, in the midst of execution, I doubted that I was doing – not the right thing because right tends to be relative most of the time – but doubting that I was doing the best thing – for his stuff and certainly for him (his mental and physical health).

More than how do you pack up a man’s things – how do you make decisions that affect the quality of his life? I decided to move him to Atlanta from Macon, believing our choices for care were more plentiful and more diverse. Yet, now, when circumstances are less than perfect, my confidence in my decision wavers. So when I sit at his bedside and he is uncomfortable or agitated or sad or challenged, I tell him that I hope I am making good decisions. I hope I really am doing the best available to me for him.

The End of the Journey
Somewhere in my 20s I began to consider the consequences of the fact that I was an only child – and the consequences of the fact that my father was a recovering substance abuser. I began to consider that I had a significant responsibility to take care of my parents at the end of their lives. I determined and accepted that I probably would have to take care of my dad in a more substantial way than I would for my mom. However, I never thought it would be this soon – that it would be now.

As I write this I know we are nearing the end – an end I knew was coming, but walking the reality of it is sometimes surreal. So I pray most earnestly in this moment, Daddy, that you are comfortable and not in pain in any way. I pray for you to experience a freedom that you never have before – for truly you deserve that – a painless freedom, an utter freedom, nothing to bind you. I pray, Daddy, that you know without a doubt how much G~d loves you. G~d loves you immensely – and so do I.

I have always loved you and I always will.
Thank you, Daddy, for loving me.

I am truly sorry for the times that my issues and my inability to deal with them well caused you pain and anguish. I pray that you receive my forgiveness of you, that you receive G~d’s forgiveness, and that you forgive yourself. I pray that in the end, I have honored you and your memory with the proper handling of you, your property, and your affairs. I pray that I represent you and your initials well as I continue to live my life. I owe my love of music, and gadgets, and stick shifts to you – William Lee Dugas – Billy.

billy dugas cool

the epitome of cool . . .

I honor you with my life, for without you, I would not be me. I can make this statement today with sincere, pure pride. (I bless G~d immensely for this ability.)

I am
named after my father and I will forever be proud to say that
William Lee Dugas
was MY dad.

Billy and candi celebrating her college graduation.

Billy and candi celebrating her college graduation.

AMEN, G~d. AMEN.

(c) 2013, 2005 candi dugas, llc

making a difference with Desire’s Kiss

making a difference with Desire’s Kiss

Making a difference . . .

Holidays 2012

I write today inviting all readers to help me raise money to film a trailer an independent film with a unique message of sexuality and spirituality, Desire’s Kiss.

Since childhood, I hold within me a compelling need to help make life better for more of us – free, just, and fair. When we talk about the war on women and hear the heart-wrenching stories of sexual abuse survivors, I hope we can begin to search for solutions at organic levels. With my whole heart I believe that when we are healed and better informed regarding our sexuality, our entire society will experience a greater sense of holistic health regarding our bodies and its various expressions.

No one project can facilitate such significant shifts in our consciousness and perspectives, but we must continue to contribute to changes in our contemplation and conversations toward better ends. Desire’s Kiss is one such effort.

Desire's Kiss - The Short Film

Desire’s Kiss – The Short Film

Desire’s Kiss – The Short Film

a nontraditional Christian woman asserts her independence from conservative views on sex & G~d

As I report in my recent book Who Told You That You Were Naked? Black Women Reclaiming Sexual & Spiritual Goodness (available on Amazon.com and candidugas.com), the Black church traditionally teaches more about religion than spirituality and is virtually silent regarding sexuality. With my research and with Desire’s Kiss, I hope to change that.

 And I need your help.

On Nov. 13th at 1p EST we will launch an online crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo.com to raise $13,000 in 33 days. We hope you will be a part of what some are calling a sexual and spiritual revolution.

All contributions help us reach our goal. (Please click here for a full range of giving options and perks.***) Please note that your support can remain completely anonymous and that all supporters receive quarterly financial and narrative updates. (J.D. Reese and Associates (CPA) serves as the accounting firm for this project.)

It is important that our unique message of freedom, justice, and fairness live through the powerful medium of film to reach as many people as possible. I once thought that my own struggles with sexuality were just mine . . . until I heard others’ stories. I realized then that they are all part of a larger picture of the human tendency to discriminate based on shallow differences. As I discuss in a recent interview:

“It’s being me and who I feel inside. When I am held back, I am not free. Where there is no freedom; there is no justice. And that’s not fair.” (We film January-March 2013.)

I hope, while this is on your mind, that you’ll set a reminder on your phone or mark your calendar for 1p EST, Tues., Nov. 13th to contribute to Desire’s Kiss.

 Audiences laud Desire’s Kiss as being simply a really good story of substance: “rich characters,” “sensuality beyond the sex,” and “a curious mixture of sexuality and spirituality!” Our team simply can’t wait to get the full production before more audiences. We can do just that with your help.

 Always our team appreciates your prayers and good thoughts as we continue our work. To “meet” the team and learn more about Desire’s Kiss – The Movie, please visit our site.

Feel free to contact me personally with any questions via cdugas@candidugas.com or 404.287.0719. Also, please share this opportunity with others.

Thank you for making a real difference!

I look forward to seeing your contribution on November 13th.****

Truly yours,

Candi

Dr. Candi Dugas, Writer/Executive Producer

Desire’s Kiss – The Movie

Desire’s Kiss Site

P.S.Desire’s Kiss makes a meaningful difference by changing the conversation about sexuality in the context of faith so we all can be healthier people, but especially and particularly for our women.

P.S.S. – Desire’s Kiss also adds more voices of women and people of color to filmmaking (In 2012, only 5% of filmmakers are women, down from previous years and the percentage is even smaller for women of color – with women composing the majority of motion picture audiences.) Our production creates jobs and job training opportunities for Atlantans in film production.

*** – Perks are subject to change to comparable items and please note the estimated delivery dates on the attached list.

**** – Please note that Desire’s Kiss, LLC and candi dugas, llc are not 501(c)3 entities.

(c) 2012 candi dugas, llc

throwback thursday: moving forward to new things | fall, letting old things die

throwback thursday: moving forward to new things | fall, letting old things die

from september/october 2009

click here for an audio version of this post

Recently a Facebook friend of mine posted a status about her reticence to let a project fall apart completely so that it could move forward to completion.

Too often we are too reluctant to let something established, something upon which we rely, to die. We fail to be en-couraged and secure in the truly lasting aspects of life to let that which is temporary be what it is – temporary. These things were never designed or built to last forever. Come on, let’s just move on to the next thing!

Certainly, there are times when we should bring restoration and rehabilitation. The key is discernment – to know when those times are. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV). It is so disastrous for all involved when we do not know when to let go and let it die.

Death is not always something from which we should run – it is something to be embraced. For with death comes a new form of life. Choose to live your life perceiving and understanding the end of things for what it truly is – a portal, a gateway to something else, something more, something bigger and better. It’s all about moving forward.

You know, we can learn so much from nature!

ansley park fall tree

my favorite fall tree!!!

Currently our season is autumn, or fall (in the United States). In some climates the trees’ leaves are turning brilliant hues and we flock to those locations to bask in their glory. However, in all our basking, do we comprehend the transition that the leaves and the trees are experiencing?

As the days become shorter and winter sets in, there is not as much sunlight to support photosynthesis, which means the leaves are not producing food for the trees. (During this time, the trees will “hibernate” and live off food stored during the warmer months.) So as chlorophyll disappears from the leaves, so does the green color. In its place, red, yellow, and orange colors appear. In fact, these colors are always present, just hidden by the green chlorophyll!

It can’t be spring time all of the time. We must have a change of season; we must take time to retreat, to rest – to die – to transition. Yes, we must sometimes let it all fall apart and rebuild. Ask any contractor; retrofitting is more than likely way more expensive than demolition and beginning anew. Don’t hold on tightly to anything. Everything has a time and a season.

What can we learn from our garden flowers? Oh, that’s really precious! We have “annuals” and we have “perennials”; trees are perennials. “Annuals complete their life cycle in one growing season. They die when winter comes, but their seeds remain, ready to sprout again in the spring.” {emphasis mine}

So as we enjoy the glory of the leaves this fall, let’s think about those things in our lives that we ought to let die so there is room, come spring, for the new and fresh aspects of life that we know not yet.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
(Isaiah 43:18-19a, NIV)

“‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him’ —
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”
(1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

Sources:
The Holy Bible, New International Version.

“Autumn Leaf Color: Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?” by Science Made Simple.

(c) 2009, candi dugas, llc

dating: the six-letter word for a single christian

dating: the six-letter word for a single christian

Dating after recommitting my life to Christ terrified me – ‘cause I didn’t know how I was gonna handle the sex question.

I was newly divorced and while I was not rushing to date again, I knew that I would eventually. I also knew that I had always had a healthy libido. What would I do now as I was just as excited about my fervent commitment to living out my faith with all of my decisions and actions? Well, I did what most of us do when we’re conflicted inside to the point of paralysis, I delayed a decision. I denied that I even had to make one. I pretended there was no issue . . .

. . . until one evening in Bible study when a classmate shared her testimony with us along with beautifully vivid color copies of a Celibacy Covenant. “G~d, you’re kidding, right?” The timing couldn’t have been more . . . providential. Thankfully, neither she nor our facilitators led us into any kind of public declaration of abstinence. As I tucked my copy into the inner pocket of my vinyl binder I hoped that my distress wasn’t showing on my face. Again, I attempted to dodge the entire issue . . .

dating. . . until I realized that I had x-ray vision. No, really. Each time I looked at the binder I could see the covenant clearly through the opaque vinyl cover. Everything inside me compelled me to sign it. But I desperately did not want to sign it and then break faith with G~d. My newly recommitted faith walk was soooo precious to me. I feared that I would destroy it by making a promise I’d never been able to keep in 12 years or so of sexual activity.

I became paranoid each week in class, thinking that everyone else was looking at me, wondering if I had signed my covenant or not. LOL. Eventually and willingly I signed it. Then I broke it, repented, and tried again. From that point I maintained a commitment of celibacy for a number of years, like 12. (After so long, I do not know if the actual number matters.)

My season of celibacy was challenging and rewarding, but a year or so before it ended I learned that it was indeed a season – and not one that would necessarily only end once I married again. I realized that celibacy is not the only ethically acceptable sexual choice available to single Christians who are passionate about remaining faithful to G~d. Furthermore, choosing sex in singleness while being saved is not a matter of being tired of waiting or settling or giving up – or even breaking faith. The availability of more choices is all about agency, autonomy, and authority. These issues are directly connected to issues of freedom and justice and this perspective propels us into realms of greater importance than doctrine, dogma, ritual, and rhetoric.

I am totally aware that such assertions completely conflict with the Church’s traditional teachings about sex and sexuality – and I am excited about that! After listening to the cries of women who trusted me with some of their most intimate struggles with love and dating, I cherish the opportunity to help provide meaningful information and tools so that they may make their own decisions in this area – not just settle for outdated and out-of-context guidance that has been passed down over generations. Dating no longer has to be a Christian’s six-letter word!

who told you that you were naked front cover

Who Told You That You Were Naked? by dr. candi dugas

Who Told You That You Were Naked? Black Women Reclaiming Sexual & Spiritual Goodness, recently released, provides this information and these tools. I write with women in mind because we have a particularly difficult time reconciling our sexuality and spirituality. Now, we can get off that incessant merry-go-round of desire, guilt and shame. We can live fully into our whole selves and enjoy life more completely.

And me? Loving G~d just gets sweeter and more potent each and every day! Yeah, it can be a bit scary at first, to be so consciously naked before G~d, but there is no greater freedom. I am fully me and fully free, the highest form of reverence and worship, huh?

Who Told You That You Were Naked? is available on Kindle (only $9.99) and paperback (only $14.99). Get your copy TODAY!

© 2012 candi dugas, llc

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