I'm excited that I'm finally ready to start sharing this project; Chuck and I have a number of posts we're working on over the coming weeks. If you are interested, follow my blog; (or follow hartmans_venus)this post is being shared much more broadly than the rest. I am frightened. I'm opening up about a project that is important to me, sharing my hopes for something big. What if we try and no one else is interested in joining us? I'm worried that in a year I'll be standing in front of everyone I care about to say that we tried to offer ourselves to the world to make it a better place and work we really care about wasn't valued. I'm also frightened about the lesser things I've already written about. However, mostly, I'm excited and filled with joy to be starting this chapter of my journey and to be doing something that I hope will make a difference.
Lovers Grove is a culmination of a lot of work and writing. One of the vows I took when I became a priest was to help build Venus's temple and create a world where the lover and beloved could circle each other openly. For me, that has meshed with a commitment to help guide people on their adventures in love.
I needed to begin to prepare the temple within myself. I found great joy in helping building compassion within Debian. I've worked to integrate Venus's magic throughout my life. Along the way my work has touched people close to me. Some have seen the work I'm doing and found ways they could face their fears and better meet their needs. Overwhelmingly, when I've lived in the strength of love, I've found joy and growth. If I can believe in what I'm doing, feel comfortable with my openness, feel comfortable letting go of shame and fear, others can see me do that and respond positively. This is not universal, but it is the vast majority of the responses I get.
It's wonderful that I've made good progress building Venus's temple within myself. In joining Lovers Grove, I hope to manifest some of the ideas I've had about bringing that work outward. I've talked about how I write about sex to create a world where we can discuss our experience as lovers openly without shame. Lovers Grove is taking that one step further and providing a place where lovers can meet openly without shame to explore, grow and teach as lovers. There are many aspects to love: intimacy, communication, empathy, boundaries, connection, joy and healing to name a few. I hope we'll embrace and explore all of these. Sexuality is only one part of being a lover, but it is an important part of being a lover and one we explicitly embrace and celebrate.
I speak of doing this work openly without shame. There's a lot of shame and related fear associated with our work as lovers. Even something as simple as offering love or care is tied to shame; we've all seen negative descriptions and worry about using the l-word too early in a relationship. Being open and vulnerable has lots of associated fear, but shame is not unknown there. Sex comes with Shame Mountain. There's slut shame, shame of not meeting expectations, and the huge shame we direct at sex workers. In our society there are many aspects of sex we accept from people so long as they are hidden and a veneer of social normality is presented. That too tends towards shame. Surrounding and interconnected with this shame are fears.
I want to live in a world without that shame. I want to live in a world where people consider risks but are not crippled by fear. I want to live in a world where people could reasonably spend their lives exploring and teaching love. Lovers Grove is here to focus intent towards that world.