HAPPINESS; THAT ELUSIVE WILL-O-THE-WISP

HAPPINESS: THAT ELUSIVE WILL-O-THE-WISP

There are three kinds of happiness: the kind you wish you had, the kind you think you have, and the kind that’s unmistakable. Problem is, those who don’t have happiness are looking for it in all the wrong places, and many who think they are happy are actually pleased—a paltry consolation prize. A feather on the sole of the foot may provoke laughter but it hardly brings joy.

Up until recently it appeared that the advertisers had won. People were looking to establish successful lives through goods and services, or as one writer put it, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Is that to be our legacy, a tombstone surrounded with the gadgets that failed to add any years to our life or—more to the point—life to our years?

In the early l960’s a brilliant and my late partner, John Williamson ran computer models to determine what was wrong to cause everyone so much unhappiness and discontent? Ultimately his model findings would be the foundation to the creative design of Sandstone Retreat/Foundation, where the focus was belief that our minds, spirits, body and soul were loved and respected.

John determined that we were guided by the chatter inside our heads, a false sense of self that deludes us and which handles our problems by giving them names, namely the ego. We built a society on these false assumptions, either naively or cunningly steered by parents, school, books, film, television, advertising and other people’s feedback. And since most of the people on whom we model our behavior also conduct their lives based on false assumptions, we never learn to know anything different. We went about our lives based upon assumptions rather than real experience.

Upon examination, these assumptions turn out to be out of touch with reality. We say with the authority of tradition, ”Everybody knows that it is so,” or, “It has always been that way.” But if we try to analyze an assumption of this kind it falls apart as soon as we touch it. And that is why we prefer not to touch them and sometimes even fiercely defend them. We poor lemmings continue to leap into the sea, confident that there is land within our reach because, “everyone knows that.”

As a result, we end up living under the pressure of countless false fears. We live in a cage that is of our own making, but one that seems real enough so that we do not venture outside of it. We end up restricting, our actions and our choices, and thus strangle our precious potential. All this because of false fears based upon false assumptions.

The activity of ceremonial drumming is a pathway to the heart, leading us to know our true self. The heart reaches a magnetic field 500 times more powerful than our brain. One hour of drumming registers a huge boost to the immune system, and generates emotions of joy and bliss. It works across all cultural conflicts. Recently Cindy Stevens was in Iraq to revive their spirit. It is touching and you can view her drumming at; http://www.ubdrumcircles.com/video.php and join in to be a part of saving the world.

Meditation is another huge threat to the craziness in our lives. We are blessed with great support while heading into the New Year. May you have an exciting new year!

THE GREAT VEGETABLE REVOLUTION

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PART II
It took an understanding of nature to successfully and practically roll back the tide of gentrification and denaturing we had endured for centuries. And right at the height of the space age with men finally stepping on another heavenly body, a couple who were attuned to nature and its rhythms took yet another small step for a man that would yield another giant leap for mankind. John Williamson and I engineered a new social environment (or a very ancient social environment) focused on an alternate lifestyle that would free us from the masks we were forced to wear. We did not descend into anarchy, we gave control back to the natural order that created and fostered us.

Sandstone movie was first released in 1972 and is the only documentary today that features an alternate lifestyle community of people that desired to simply be themselves and shed the artificiality of living in a smoggy, chaotic and congested city. Included in this blog is the latest re-release information for those with interest in sexuality, multiple relationships and a functional community lifestyle.

“Sandstone” is a thought-provoking window into the heart of the sexual revolution in Southern California in the 1970’s. This legendary mountain top retreat was a fantasy playground for adults and an important social experiment rolled into one. Sandstone is relevant today because it facilitates an open dialogue about the pressure many people still feel from traditional societal expectations about sexuality and what is ‘normal’
About the film:

Filmed in the 1970’s, famed producer, Jonathan Dana’s “Sandstone” has been re-mastered and is making its exclusive worldwide digital premiere on Indie-Flix this week. The company’s goal is to entertain and engage their viewers with a socially relevant conversation about group marriage, relationships and sexuality.

The Cultural Connection:
When “Sandstone” was filmed, the ‘sexual revolution’ was a reaction to the pressure to be ‘normal’ as defined by mainstream society. It was a backlash against the traditional 1950’s lifestyle, in which appearance, perfection, and convention were prized above emotional fulfillment, freedom or growth.

While the term ‘sexual revolution’ generally implies the period from the 1960’s to the late 1970’s, in many ways our society is in the midst of a second wave of sexual liberation and equality. There is an increased acceptance and even celebration of sexual identity, the LGBTQ community and nontraditional relationship dynamics as Polyamory.

Only Nature is humanity’s physical, mental and emotional support system. Nature is trying to teach us to live and discover the persons we are! The shamanic journey teaches us to tap into our “true self” through respect and connections with nature. Getting grounded in our true self opens the pathway to our heart and ability to experience a happy and blissful life.

The Sexual Revolution Continues…

In the late 60’s, my life partner John and I created the first—and perhaps the only—commune for grown-ups where open sexuality could flourish.  Sandstone Retreat was fifteen acres of paradise nestled in the wooded splendor of Topanga Canyon, California, surrounded by sweeping vistas of the Malibu Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  In this enchanted community dwelt people whose mind, body and sexuality came together in perfect and unrestrained unity.  The dress code was one’s own living garment, the only suit that could feel as well as be felt. The mindset was acceptance of all things sensual. Like all things that harmonize with nature, it worked remarkably well.

Over the course of four years, no less than six thousand members, came to play, party, and break the bondage of their sexual repression with the gentle encouragement of other members. Those who shared the Sandstone Experience know that its impact has not lessened over time.

It warms my heart to pay tribute to Nicole Daedone.  Nicole has had extraordinary success in continuing the Sexual Revolution.  She is the author of Slow Sex, and is in demand as a speaker on unlocking sexuality through Orgasmic Meditation. What a blessing to humanity she is, as she effortlessly and tirelessly cultivates a better understanding of the need for—and benefits of—open sexuality.

She continues to provide a major breakthrough for the huge number of women who have been sexually repressed for centuries and did not realize it.  She also pinpointed a hunger in women that could only be satisfied through orgasm.

Still in today’s culture talk of sexuality or even the thought of it, is frowned up on.  It has been a problem for centuries and continues to be one.  However, with people like Nicole and her monumental contributions towards awareness, it offers them choices in how to live a healthier lifestyle.  If more people like her continue the sexual revolution then the culture benefits.  Going against what society says is okay, Nicole takes on the intimidating task of speaking courageously and openly about sexuality. It is not an easy thing to do but her desire to inform people allows her to be courageous enough to openly and honestly speak the truth and truth shall always set us free.  If we had more people like Nicole who stepped up to the plate, imagine how different the world would look.

Our sexuality is an integrating force of such scope and magnitude that has somehow been overlooked by the culture.  How did this happen?

Embracing Change

I met John in the mid-1960s, a hotbed of radical change. In those early days we had many discussions about our ability to manage change—to roll with it rather than watch it pass us by or run us down—and looked deep within ourselves for a fountain of renewal.  We wanted something to stave off stagnation and despair. We knew it would involve keeping an open heart and mind, remaining flexible, learning to love ourselves and others, and staying connected with Nature. We needed to be closely-knit halves of a perfect relationship that embraced cooperation and eschewed competition.

Perhaps we would end our pursuit of the American Dream that provided us great incomes while leaving us emotionally drained and feeling neglected.  Yes, I know that is counter-intuitive. If you are like most people, you want enough money that you don’t have to worry about where it’s coming from. But owning money is like owning a house—it must be maintained, and there are several ongoing expenses.

We turned our focus toward social engineering and created Sandstone Retreat to provide a pathway into the “changing lifestyles of the 70’s.” Sandstone Retreat opened a crack in the centuries-old wall of sexual suppression. We changed out of our designer clothes into total nudity, the one suit everyone can afford but finds most expensive suit of all to wear. Part with a few hundred dollars and you can deck yourself in Georgio Armani, but rock your birthday suit and you have to part with a whole mindset! Unlike Georgio Armani suits, when you discard one mindset, there is another one waiting around the corner to replace it, and you’d be surprised how good it can be! In the Sexual Revolution Era we had an expression, “If it feels good do it,” and we did it, and it felt good.

We found it necessary to resist the dominant cultural path that said dedicate your lives to earn lots of money and that will heal all of your woes.  Now, over forty years later we see the danger of such bridled vision leading down the pathway to moral bankruptcy.

Our perception was the earth was quickly becoming over crowded with humans now having the capability of purchasing unlimited number of toys, automobiles, appliances, hi-tech gadgets and severely creating misery and alienation within. At the same time folks were neglecting their critical emotional needs such as human touch, compassion, intimacy, caring, love, openness and truth that really makes our lives hum with a rich sense of well being.

Resisting change whether it is out of Fear or facing the Unknown keeps us locked in to a stagnant quagmire. Embracing change (easy once open to it) is Mother Nature’s way!

A Tale of Two Kitties

The people of Ramesses’ Egypt were very much in touch with the “nature” in “human nature”. They had no quarrel with nature, and they even held such acts as the yearly flood of the Nile as sacramental mileposts that measured out their lives and renewed the land. They liked their wine and music, they sang the praises of love and laughter, and they looked for any excuse to celebrate.

These Egyptians idolized their cats, seeing in their quiet dignity mixed inextricably with a lust for life a model of a life well lived. The death of the family cat was nothing less than the loss of a child. The lifeless body was taken to the embalmers for mummification as the spirit was bid a swift and pleasant journey to Mother Bast where all wounds are healed and all tears wiped away.

Bronze Saite era art of an Egyptian cat in the Gulbenkian Museum

Come forward a few centuries and a few thousand miles to the people of Victoria’s England. These people were at war with nature. Their proper deportment was as people who never urinated, never defecated, never farted, and never ever had sex. Except, of course, that they did it strictly off the record.

There were mostly black cats in Victorian England, but nearly all had at least a small white patch of fur somewhere on their body. It was just out of living memory that the gene pool of all-black cats had been wiped out in an epidemic of witch hysteria. No longer reviled as familiars, cats were still regarded as the epitome of insatiable lust. The joie de vivre that touched Egyptian fancy horrified the Victorian mindset. The unquestioning loyalty and dependence of the dog had a place in the rigid class-conscious society while the cat’s contribution to popular culture was naming the “cathouse”, a place where men paid to do things men never did…except when they did it off the record.

During our Sandstone days we made our peace with the cat. Like the Egyptians of the Two Kingdoms, we embraced the nature in human nature, removed the masks that hid our instinctual heritage, and encouraged one another to claim their rights and uphold their responsibilities in unleashing the inner tiger.  Sex is a socially integrating force of great scope and magnitude, completely overlooked by our popular culture. Repressing our sexuality only stalls the process of enlightenment and makes the problem worse. Your heritage is powerful; run if you like, but it will follow you wherever you go.  You cannot defeat it as the Victorians sought, but you can embrace it and sail on its wings as the Egyptians did.

Some members of our society have turned into themselves and asked the hard questions relative to “how can I contribute” to a better and more productive lifestyle?  Thus, realize that our sexuality has far greater benefits than only procreation.  It is imperative that we stop repressing our sexuality and open ourselves to kinesthetic communication.  This mode involves touch, body contact, and most importantly, sex, which fills our need for intimacy.

It has been over 40 years since the Sexual Revolution happened and we are falling far short of owning our sexuality and progressing towards a new psychology of being, blessed to be a free thinking and independent soul.

But far too many members of society carry on with business as usual on automatic pilot with their focus on Procreation, which continues us down that destructive path of population explosion and ultimately ends in human extinction.  We can do better.

A Sandstone Kaleidoscope

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As I sit here typing in the nightly silence of Nevada desert, my mind is whisked away on the magic carpet of memory to Sandstone retreat. There the sun is shining and couples are laughing in the courtyard. I feel a hand rest on my shoulder…John’s hand…and I look around half expecting to see him standing behind me, his unruly blond hair spilling around his smiling face like a lion’s mane. I look around and see nothing but the office hat rack standing in the shadows.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I can take these mental journeys without regret, having come to the conclusion that Sandstone was more of a state of mind than a place. Once you have had the Sandstone experience, it never truly ends. John is still over my shoulder, though we’ve had to be together in a different way since the funeral.

You too can have the Sandstone experience, but don’t search for it with a map. It starts deep inside, in the person that hides behind the mask society and self-doubt forces one to wear. Let me tell you how we found it, and perhaps it will help you venture out toward new horizons.

There were unspoken dynamics inherent to the Sandstone lifestyle. As a social change organization, it encouraged personal growth through embracing positive change, openness, and flexibility. It was the quest to reach one’s potential that energized and structured the community. The serenade from the song birds started each day and set the tone for what followed. The rest of the day was a blank canvas waiting for the creative and playful impulses of the residents to fill in. What followed was spontaneous, but it was never anarchy. There is a deeply suppressed roadmap in human nature that draws us toward a very different order and pattern from the limits our so-called “civilization” puts on our humanity.

We gave interested couples an overview of what it was like to live in the community and what would be expected of them. It was imperative that all family members contributed to our common goal; to support and maintain all functions of the retreat.
Generally prospective members would first join the club to get a feel for the (lay of the land so to speak) and assess the flow of energies and activities of what to expect. If they were comfortable with the energies and felt they may want to be a part of the alternate life style inner community, next was to determine the skills they brought, their flexibility and above all possess a positive outlook on life. Next question was “how did they see themselves” and what could they offer the community.

It was a 15 acre estate that required continual maintenance from cleaning of the Olympic sized swimming pool, to scrubbing the drive ways to washing Eucalyptus acorns off the pavement that stabbed us in the bare feet while running from the main building to the pool house. Whatever needed to be done it was imperative someone be there to rise to fill that need. Examples: I was responsible for the club operations and John dealt with all media matters.

Visiting day members were there to enjoy the peaceful and calm retreat while sunbathing in the nude to soak up some delightful sunshine, relax and swim in the heated pool with temps set at 93 to 94 degrees.

Night time at Sandstone Retreat we hosted parties a couple (couples only) nights weekly. Sometimes more often! Everyone showed up dressed but quickly ditched their clothes to get into the swing of things. Dinner was enjoyed in the nude with much good conversation in the living room about Alternate living. After dinner many retired to the Ballroom to engage in sex, some in dancing under the twirling disco ball with a projector of wild colorful patterns on nude bodies. We loved our bodies and struggle to be whole beings. It was a cherished time in our pleasure palace. Nothing had ever been available like Sandstone Retreat, therefore, no one ever forgot their experiences at Sandstone Retreat as it was a one and only of its kind.

I Led The Sexual Revolution

You couldn’t imagine a more unlikely candidate to lead a sexual revolution!  In the days before the stork had a GPS, a baby girl intended for Malibu, Honolulu, or Paris ended up delivered to a small farm in Missouri. Yes, Missouri…we call it God’s Country because nobody else would build there.

Even as a little girl among the corn stalks, I knew I didn’t fit in.  Problem was, the world was a giant jigsaw puzzle, and places where I didn’t fit were a dime a dozen.  I was restless, a salmon who wanted to head back to the headwaters of a stream where I belonged but had never swum before.  I went into the business world…got a lot of chops and busted a lot of moves. I had what it took to succeed as a woman in a man’s world, and yet I was miserable.   I had the aching certainty I would know what I liked when I saw it, but had no clue where to begin.

At last I found that mystical place, that sense of completion, in a man named John Williamson. I call him a man…he was more like an idea, a movement, a category of one. I came to sell him an insurance policy, and he sold me a great destiny.


taisau / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

John was a pied piper and he played a tune that was strange and wild, yet beautiful. I followed it and didn’t look back. What was most wonderful about that haunting melody was that he admitted to me in bits and pieces that I was the one that inspired it. We were complimentary…two halves of a perfect relationship. It was to capture some semblance of that relationship in permanent form that led me to wrestle with marriage.  Wrestle I did, like Jacob wrestling with the angel.  Like Jacob I was seeking a blessing. When I found what I was looking for, I was possessed with a drive to tell other little girls in Missouri that they too have a homeland where their spirits can roam free.  If I help even one, that would be a fitting tribute to John and wellspring of satisfaction to me.

Life with John at Sandstone was a dream for me that had come true.  When I awoke I found myself in a “back to nature setting”, a love community like the one described in Robert Heinlein’s book, Stranger in a Strange Land.  We were all nude and practiced open sexually without guilt or shame, from jealousy and possessiveness.  Honesty, openness and mutual respect were our garments, so we had little need for privacy.  Love is the most powerful emotion on the planet.  It begins with learning to love ourselves, and it naturally follows that the love with us attracts the love of others. The rest takes care of itself.

Many revolutions throughout the history of mankind have ended in revenge, repression, and disappointment. This revolution ended with the healing magic of touch. On that hopeful note I end my first post!

Barbara