Across the street from my childhood home lived my first Mentor. She and her husband Morris drove a rusted red Volkswagen bus from Seattle to our little rural town in Connecticut in the late 70's. I babysat constantly for their two daughters and fed their flea loving cats when they traveled.
Lori taught me things that my mother wasn't experienced in. She introduced me to yoga, meditation, vegetarian cuisine and the dangers of deodorant. I watched in awe as she breast-fed her infant. She chewed apples, pears and bananas while spitting it out into her hand to feed her children.
Lori made delicious organic peanut butter and lit incense while espousing the healing benefits of massage. This Hippie Earth Mother didn't bother with fast food, body odor, bras or bikini waxes. She really didn't care what anyone thought about her, because she never seemed to judge anyone herself.
One day I caught my brothers spying on her from our front yard behind a tree as she sunbathed in the nude. She knew. She didn't care. She was free. I envied her. I could tell her anything. She believed in me.
Lori was filled with esoteric information and philosophical perspectives about relationships, Buddhism and love and I was her enraptured student. When her daughters were asleep I would tip toe into Lori's Bedroom and pull the Joy of Sex off the shelf and gaze at all the sensual positions and intimate lovemaking techniques. My heart pounded and my thighs were on fire as I memorized each page. I was physically very inexperienced, but mentally the seeds were deeply planted for my future escapades. I was building and dreaming my own mystical foundations of love and passion. I definitely struggled with my Catholic upbringing and the fear of God visiting me during my research:
“Thou shall have pure thoughts Jacqueline
and thou shall abstain from premarital sex! Amen.”
I devoured her books on Creative Visualization, Sexual politics, Our Bodies Ourselves and my favorite, Love, by Leo Busgaglia. I wasn't content with hugging the periphery anymore. My curiosity was ravenous and I began asking uncomfortable questions. Lori patiently listened and honestly answered.
I was no longer struck motionless inside my adolescent mind and body. Perhaps my new confidence was borrowed at age 14, but I was encouraged to wake up and stretch and I'm still stretching and opening my mind and my heart. Thank you Lori!
Love and Light,
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