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159. Finding Sexual Play and Presence Through Narrative Theory with Allen Turner

Nicole: Welcome to Modern Anarchy, the podcast exploring sex, relationships, and liberation. I'm your host, Nicole.

On today's episode, we have Alan Turner join us for a conversation about creating narratives of play. and nourishing connections. Together, we talk about boldly embracing your authenticity. learning to practice love, and stepping into the flow state of play. Hello, dear listener, and welcome back to Modern Anarchy. I am so delighted to have all of you pleasure activists from around the world tuning in each Wednesday for another episode.

And if you're new here, hello, I'm Nicole, your host, a sex and relationship psychotherapist with training in psychedelic integration therapy. Dear listener, if you have been tuning in to the podcast, I know that That you know, I am always talking about how we are formed by our relationships, right? The field of psychology talks about the self in relation.

We have a concept of identity that is formed through our multiple relationships. that reflect in our mirrors to different aspects of ourselves. And so today's conversation, we get into the ecology of our relationships, our interconnectedness. And I often talk to my clients about how our relationships are living plants, right?

Sometimes we overwater it, sometimes we underwater it, and we have to remember that these are animals. Actively living relationships. And so maybe one week we did underwater the plant and to remember that it's not dead. It's still there. Right? What do we want to do with this living relationship that we have?

Often we get so lost in the past, right? Of what we've done, what has happened, right? The ways we have or haven't watered the plant or the soil that was there, forgetting that. We are in the here and the now and getting to choose how we want to move forward with these dynamics. And a big part of these dynamics is also talking about the narratives.

Dear listener, we are all telling ourselves narratives about our lives. And dear listener, I want to share with you one of the special practices that I have been doing with. My own lovers, and that I've been sharing with my clients from the pleasure practice. So each month, I sit down with my lovers, and we go through a relationship reflection, where we answer five different questions.

We get out a journal, we sit with one another, and we take the time to reflect. And the five questions that we answer together are, What was the most memorable moment we shared in the last month? What does our relationship mean to you? That's a kicker, y'all. That one I always have. It's such a deep question there, and I really always struggle, but enjoy that struggle to get more words to the meaning making.

How have I loved you well in the last month? It's so great to look back and have gratitude and celebrate the ways that our lovers have showed up for us and for them to hear that, to hear the ways that they have done well in the last month. The next question is, how have I shown up for you erotically in the last month?

This is a really powerful question to get words and language to the beautiful experience of erotic connection. And if you're not exploring eroticism with this person that you're practicing the reflection with, feel free to change this out with other aspects of your dynamic. Maybe, how have you shown up for me emotionally?

How have you shown up for me spiritually? And the final question is, what are you most grateful for in our connection? I really love closing out with that gratitude and, Dear listener, I have been really enjoying answering these questions with my lovers. It has been so meaningful to hear how they are seeing the dynamic, to give words to how I am seeing our connection, and then to be able to actually look at them written out in a journal.

And we do these questions once a month, and at the end of answering them, we look back to the last month and reflect on the ways that we have changed or grown since the last time we answered the questions. And it's been such an act of deepening our connection, and it is one of the things that I share with all of my clients from the pleasure practice, and I've certainly shared with my own friends and community.

And so I wanted to share it with you too, dear listener, especially since today's conversation talks about narratives and the ecology of our relationships. And so I have linked that below in the show notes for you to check out and to explore. I would love for you to send me a message and let me know how this practice is deepening and fostering more intimacy in your connections.

Alright, if you are ready to liberate your pleasure and work with me, you can explore my offerings at modernanarchypodcast. com, linked in the show notes below, and I want to send a big thank you to all of my Patreon supporters. You are keeping this podcast free and accessible to all people. And with that, dear listener, please know that I am sending you all of my love.

And let's tune into today's episode. So then the first question I like to ask each guest is, how would you introduce yourself to the listeners?

Allen Turner: Oh, that's a good question. Well, my, my name is Alan Turner. I'm kind of all over the place. I am a, um, a person who gets bored easily and I'm always finding new things to engage my mind and my body.

Um, in terms of like, you know, overall, how I present in the world is like, I have a, a big giant male body. I'm like six, four black, black, black, and indigenous, huge arm span. So I can, I'm a big presence when I walk into a room and I've got this voice. Identify kind of ginger queer on a belly dancer in addition to being a game designer and a writer and a filmmaker and a storyteller.

I'm not monogamous polyamorous. You know, I guess I use the word, but I don't always quite fits in some of the regular. Descriptions of what polyamory is, I guess, my, um, my relationships tend to be, I guess, they fall in that kind of garden party space, but I kind of like to think of my polyness as more of a, a reach back to my indigenous heritages as an anti colonial thing.

Right? It's this idea of saying relationships are part of our, um, archaeology. Right. And our needs like, you know, I don't know, mushrooms or trees or whatever. Right. And so there's like this mycelium that you reach out and build up around you that becomes that support network. Right. And you want that to be made of quality engaged at present people.

And, and figuring out where they fit is just a matter of kind of engaging the residents that showed up. So it's like, are you familiar with Lilo and Stitch?

Nicole: Yes. I have,

Allen Turner: so my, my, I like to think of my Polly as Lilo and Stitch Polly, where it's just like, you know, there are all these people in the world and I don't know what kind of relationship they're in.

I can have with them. And as I figure out what that relationship is, I lean into the resonance. I like resonance more than orientation. Um, because I feel like everybody's kind of like a song. Everyone is a movement and you kind of figure out what works for you and you lean into the things that are nourishing.

And then, and then you figure out where people fit. Some people are paternal, maternal relatives. Some people are aunties and uncles. Some people are lovers. Some peoples are lovers of you. Some peoples are lovers with you. Some people are, are youngers and they're, they're, they're more there for you to be a mentor and a lover of them, you know, so, but, but, you know, decoupling sexuality from that love kinship relationship.

Nicole: God, I have hours of conversation just to unpack that, right? Let's go. Yeah.

Allen Turner: My other thing is, is play, right? And I feel like play fits into all of that stuff, right? So play is like my, my go to for figuring out where I am and how I am and who I am in the given space.

Nicole: Mm. Yeah. So beautiful. I'm so excited. It feels really like a good time for me.

I just released an episode on relationship anarchy. You know, some of the same concepts you're hitting on and talking about how relationships are play and all of this. So I'm really excited to get to talk to you today and hear your perspective. I'm Yeah, I'm curious if you would consider this a spiritual journey.

Allen Turner: This, when you say this, are you referring to?

Nicole: Deconstructing the way society has told us to be in relationships.

Allen Turner: It's, I don't know if I would even call it a spiritual journey, I would just say it's just A necessity of being in the world that we're in. We live in a world that puts us in all these little boxes, and we're given all these little packages and archetypes and stereotypes and stuff that we're expected to fit into.

And so much of that is, you know, just colonial nonsense, right? So much of it is patriarchal nonsense. Um, and some of it is just stuff that's just gotten confused somewhere in between. I, I, I'm a fervent believer in this idea of kind of living my life, but we rolling my own right as I go. So just kind of figuring out what works and it's not always easy, but it's, it's a necessary thing.

Cause I, I've definitely had my own bouts of depression and struggles with life. And there are definitely been times when I was trying so hard to fit into all those little. Prescribed boxes and whatnot. And it made me miserable.

Nicole: Yeah.

Allen Turner: And I've got, um, my, I have a big queer poly family and my, um, you know, my oldest child is, is trans.

Um, my, my, my youngest child is queer. There were periods of depression that I watched them go through. Some of which kind of leaned into the things they were, you know, that they're in suicidal ideation. And there was a realization that I have to model for them living in the world and being who they are and not tucking myself away.

And so that was, that was a big conversation in our house. It was a scary thing because once, once I said, okay, everything is out, everybody's out about everything that had a bigger effect than I thought it was going to have. Right. You know, so my kids are in various organizations of school and you start talking about things that are going on at home and our relationship styles and all this stuff.

I'm like, oh, shit. I didn't actually think that they were going to take it that far, but they were and I couldn't go and say, Oh, you can't talk about those things

because the goal was, was to kind of be bold and be big and take up the space, take up the space that we need to be who we are and be healthy and be nourished.

So, um, so that definitely make things uncomfortable, but it also built up some, made me understand some boundaries to help, help me understand a little bit of how to navigate this stuff and not feel like I have to. You know, I'm going to self destruct every time somebody finds out a piece of information about me.

Nicole: Yeah. How do you navigate that? Like, what is your, how do you kind of like gauge with people how to move through the world of whether to be out or in and what that looks like for you?

Allen Turner: Well, I think that the first thing is trying to just be in my own space and not try to Push that narrative out onto other people.

Right. So, I have my levels of outness, and a lot of people have their levels of outness in the world where going from place to place, from block to block, you're not sure what's safe.

Nicole: Right. Right.

Allen Turner: So, part of it is just kind of, you know. being okay with me where I'm at.

And in those points when I engage with people and something gets triggered or something gets tickled inside, instead of being reactive to that and just kind of going into my fear spaces.

And I've got a ton of them. I grew up also in a very abusive household. And so there's like a certain level of hyper vigilance that I have just as a way of moving through the world, but trying not to lean into those fear spaces and sitting back And taking time with them, dance helps a lot, and the play helps a lot, right?

So in those places, I can take my mind off of the thing that is making me uncomfortable. And I can turn them into like some kind of somatic engagement, right? And I can take it out of my body and put it into something else.

And then once it's, once it's out of me and something else, um, there's this capacity to start building a relationship and have a conversation with it.

And the goal isn't to always purge and remove things and say, you know, these things are bad and they shouldn't be part of my existence. It's kind of figuring out where do they, where do they actually fit in a way that they blend and don't become a problem, but they themselves get nourished in a way to make some healthy.

Nicole: Right.

Allen Turner: So. So it's a dance. So everything I do kind of comes back to dance and play.

Nicole: Yeah. I love that as a way to understand, cause yeah, there's no easy answer to that of like, how do you navigate through the world? And it's always going to be different for different identities, different spaces, all the pieces.

Right. And I keep coming back to the realities of just the cultural narratives around these things, right. We're coming from from different cultural spaces around what the actions we're taking in the narrative of our lives and what it means and when there's a different culture that sees that as maybe sin or other things, right?

Like, like, it's not, we're not going to argue with that, right? These are just different cultural narratives that we can take space from in that way. And so how do we protect ourselves and dance and that Faces so nuanced. I'd be curious, like when did you first learn about this orientation to relationships and what was that process like for you?

Allen Turner: So I think it came out of, like I said, I grew up in this really abusive household, um, and as a kid, we weren't allowed to go outside and have much engagement with other people. And so I didn't actually really get out into the world until my dad got sick, um, real bad with diabetes. The threat that he represented kind of stopped.

And, and the threat that my mom represented kind of stopped and I had to go out into the world. And so at that point, I was like this monk coming down from out from a mountain. And despite the fact I was living in Chicago, I, my engagement with people was always from a distance and watching. I was also going to be a man of the cloth.

I was an aspirant for the Christian Brothers. And so I kind of spilled out of these really contained type boxes into the world and I started engaging with people and I was just watching. I do a lot of watching, you know, there's this type of vigilance, right? And I had to figure out consciously and unconsciously how to turn that hyper vigilance.

Into, um, useful nourishing thing and not just a thing that was going to give me constant anxieties. Sure. And so part of that was just kind of watching the mechanics of people engaging with each other. You know, everything to me is things made of things that affect things, affecting things, making more things.

So it's like not being distracted with the monoliths and then kind of looking at the smaller pieces that make that make that monolith up. As I watch people, I kind of looked at the things that we did and how we talk to each other and what felt right to me and what felt wrong to me. I have a very service driven orientation.

Um, so 1 of my instincts was always to kind of move in and trying to find ways to connect with people through a service space. And again, part of that was also, um, something that came out of the, uh, being safe and abusive spaces, but also a lot of it was just my nature. I wanted to. Help. Yeah, of course. And so that being my first point of engagement with people was interesting because it also put me in a position where people would just tell me stuff about themselves.

Once, once we, once we got to a place where we were safe, people opened up and I don't know if it was like, you know, some priestly energy that they were picking up on or people were regularly go, Oh, you're not what I expected. You know, so you meet me, have a stereotype and then it would just kind of fall apart because I'm not doing any of the things they expect of a giant dart.

Black guy with a deep voice. Yeah,

Nicole: yeah, yeah.

Allen Turner: Yeah, so I just got into a habit of kind of cataloging the interactions and watching what people did as I delved deeper into play and the mechanics of play. You know, doing things like tabletop role playing games and whatnot. Just the idea of figuring out how to make characters is all about thinking, what narrative am I and how am I going to engage with this bigger narrative around me?

How am I going to be safe in it? How am I going to be participatory in it? There's all this stuff, right? And so being in that play space, the play was always also a way for me to, um, to, to deal with stress and grief and fear and whatnot. So again, I just kept engaging both in watching people playing, taking the things that I've, I've saw people doing and figuring out ways to turn those into play mechanics, things that were tangible that I can touch and engage with that just kind of kept building layers of understanding.

I felt like, um, I like to use this analogy of multi, like a beetle, right?

And so after I read enough information, my shape would change a bit. And that would, you know, and I felt like I would get new, new types of locomotion, right? Find new ways of moving with the world. And there's some old ways that used to move that would disappear.

So again, going through these, I really like the idea that the metaphor of like caterpillar to butterfly, because it's like, that's like one big shift, but like, you know, I'm a fan of beetles and spiders and, and, you know, beetles have all these different forms they take before they get to the point where you see the beetle.

Nicole: Sure.

Allen Turner: So my process was, was a lot like that. I was going through all these different instars, these energetic, these spiritual, these emotional, um, physical, So I had this thing where because of how I grew up, this almost pathological need to be of service and to be helpful and whatnot. And I was sick a lot.

So I didn't actually expect to live past being 30 years old. Wow. So a lot of my helping was like, I wanted to leave something. You know, before I, I died and then one day I woke up and it was past 30. I was like, huh, I guess, uh, I need another plan. And that's when I started really to lean in. So, so how do I put all this stuff into practice?

And so that's where I started to lean into actually really making things. I got involved in making games and building games and play it and doing all this youth work. And then in my forties is when I really dug into the dance. And then now everything has kind of come together. I like this space of.

Eldership of a sort where I get to share that with other people.

Nicole: Yeah, so powerful. Yeah, I've been wanting to have conversations on the podcast about like role playing and games and narratives and how that is such a crucial piece of, you know, Sexual play. And obviously, yeah. So I've, I've been like waiting to, I was thinking like, Oh, I got to reach out to some people.

So I love when, you know, the universe of connections and networking here we are. So, um, and, and I think a lot about the ways in like narrative therapy, we're always telling ourselves narratives of who we are. Right. And then that's culturally laden. So we're doing that every single day. Right. I have a narrative who I am, what this conversation means to me that I'm having right now.

And then All the dynamics, but also when we take that next level to a two of like, what narratives do I want to play with? Right? And then the joy of constructing those. So I'd be curious, you know, yeah, how you see those things connected.

Allen Turner: It's a mixture of things, right? So. Especially as we start talking about sexuality.

I think sexual, to me, all of that is a subset of play.

Nicole: Yes.

Allen Turner: Play should be, you know, it should be. Yeah. Right. And again, that's, that's a problem with all these, these weird little templates around us, but I feel like, Play is a place of presence,

right? That's where you're being really, really present with another person.

If you're in a place where, there's this guy, Bernie DeColvin, who talks about this idea of being well played, right? And well played is this thing where you and I are engaged in a thing. We've gotten past this point where we're trying to win or whatever. We're just trying to maintain the moment. Right uses this metaphor of a ping pong game where maybe my skill is less than your skill and we start playing and you recognize what my skill is at.

And I recognize where your skill is at and you start to adjust your skill down a little bit so that I could play with you, but not so much that I don't have. There's not a pool for me to dig in a little harder. Right. So I can kind of reach up. We hit this balance and there's like this resonant moment, right?

Where we're just kind of like, yeah, it's just you and me. We're doing this thing. Nothing else matters. And I think as we move into sexual spaces, that's the same thing. Right. Right. As we get older. Um, we are directed away from using play, you know, even being engaged in play, right? But then we get to a point where we start to engage our bodies and we start to get other people and we get those present moments.

We live in a world where those things get totally divorced for, for the vast majority of people. Um, there are, there are people who get it, they get this idea that, you know, Oh wait, I can actually play in this space too. And, you know, like to me, another person's body is just like, Oh. That's just a total play zone, right?

What does your skin feel like? What does your voice sound like? What do your eyes do? How does your body move? How do I feel when you touch me? All those things, right? So it's this opportunity for exploring and digging in deep with someone. And then there's the idea of what awakens. Right. And then that's where that those, those narratives start to play, uh, to show up because there's pieces of us that don't get to be seen because we're code switching all day long.

Right. Right. But then when we get into these present spaces, some of those other pieces of ourself, um, I don't even want to call them shadows because they're not shadows. They're just, they're just part of our spectrum of being right. Totally. You know, it's like this cloud of possibilities, but some pieces go, Hey, I haven't been nourished in a while, but this feels good to me.

Can we do this? And sometimes we need, you know, fantasies and things to kind of give us permission to let those things out. But once they're out, you're like, yes, you know, they spread your wings. And when it's done in a way where we've got good consent and everyone is safe, we feel alive.

Nicole: Yeah,

Allen Turner: we feel like the world is so much bigger.

I don't know about you, but I've totally had interactions with people where when I walked away, I'm like, yeah, the world road is all right. And that could have been a sexual experience. It could have just been a conversation, but they gave me that bit of present nourishment that allowed my mind to settle just a little bit, allow my heart to kind of relax a little bit.

And I got to be okay. Just being me in that moment. You know, and I got to see a piece of them at that moment, that that's a gift between each other. Right.

Nicole: Yeah. And the ways that that energy is, I guess I want to say almost the same, not the same, but similar to other areas of our lives, right? Like the conversations we have, these other moments, like that same sort of alive feeling of presence and intimacy and connection.

Yeah. Ripples out into all areas of your life. Yes. And I feel like you can notice that with the people who play and you feel that in their presence, in the ways that they're able to dyna be dynamic with other people in the world. So it's like a microcosm for the other areas of your life. Right, right, right.

Which is what breaks my heart about it, that so many people are in this space where they can't or feel unable to play.

Allen Turner: Right. I did. It's a micro, this microcosm is also this place of metabolizing. Mm-Hmm. Right. It's a place where. We get to try out things. We get to explore things. Um, so failure becomes.

Part of the process and we're okay when we're in play. We're okay with failure. Failure allows us to move, move forward. It gives us a challenge to say, Oh, and not only did I not succeed, but I know why I didn't succeed. I and I'm free to kind of try this again. And once you can get in that mindset, if you can spill that out into the rest of your world and the rest of your relationships, you know, if you make a misstep with somebody and someone says a word or uses a word in a way that you don't think they should be using it, or they do a thing, it's much easier to have a conversation with them about what's going on, as opposed to projecting these boxes of you're bad, you're good, you know, whatever, because you did the thing that shouldn't be done.

And so it gives you a much more forgiving space.

Nicole: Right, right, right. Which we could also translate into higher risk edge play sorts of dynamics where people are doing things. And then we have, you know, significantly more risk when we quote unquote fail or mess up. Right. And then I think that's also why we see, you know, in an ideal world and community, right.

Such good communication on the people who play in that area, because you have to communicate so much. And then you see those skills of communication. Translate into other areas of their life, or they're very clear of like, this is the consent. Where are you at? What? Talk to me. Let me know what's going on.

And so in these ideal worlds, when we're playing, yeah, that skill base there translates to all the other areas of your life.

Allen Turner: Yeah, absolutely. And getting into that risk space requires us to get some trust.

Nicole: Oh yeah. Right.

Allen Turner: And that trust can only happen with someone who is present with you, right? Because you, You need to know that that person is playing.

When they're playing, they're paying attention to your responses in the play. So if we're doing some kind of kink engagement, I'm leading the role or I'm leading the play. I want you to feel safe to know that I'm paying attention to what's happening in you. So, cause sometimes we're not even aware of what's happening ourselves, right?

And so we may, we may, we may be doing something and you know, something. Activate something that you would have even forgotten about. There's something that had been tucked away in the back of your mind, right? And you're in this deep subspace and then boom, you're back into a triggered moment. Yeah. And, and you may not even be aware of that, but I have to be aware of it as a person who's being present and playing with you.

Right. And, and it is a hypervigilance, but it's a loving hypervigilance.

Nicole: Yes, it is.

Allen Turner: Um, that's, that says, oh, you know, The stop for a moment, what's going on, you know, and then being comfortable shifting from being deeply engaged into something and then switching back into a conversation to say, Hey, are we okay?

Can we proceed? Right? That's I know that's a thing that's hard for a lot of people because once once the momentum is broken, it's gone to them. Right? And for but if like that play is a part of like your being, then you can shift back into it. Mhm. Right. It's like if you watch kids in a, you take a kid to a park, you go into a sandbox, they'll walk into the sandbox and they'll see a stick.

Right. And, you know, suddenly that stick is a sword. And so there, and so everybody in the sandbox agrees that that's a sword and everybody's having a good time and they're doing like, you know, whatever kind of. Play fighting or whatever they're doing with it. And then somebody falls and gets hurt. You know,

everyone rushes to take care of that person.

And, and after, after they've dealt with that moments for the most part, the kids would go, Oh, look, look at this thing over here. And they'll switch. Right. And they'll switch that energy and go right back into play. Right. Again, this is something that we lose the capacity to do as we get older, because, you know, we get all these fear narratives and all these pain narratives and we get all this grief and we get all this trauma that gets stuck in their bodies.

And so there's the idea of there's only resilience. Right. And so. Our capacities to kind of go and then come back and get tougher. There's so much permission we need to give ourselves to make those switches. But yeah, no, I think, I think it can, it can be done. I know people who do it on the regular. Um, I try to do it, you know, and, and sometimes we fail.

But again, failure is part of the process, right? So if you fail, say, Hey, what's happening? Can we, can we reload? Can we, can we, can we stop? Can we, can we change this? Can we switch to another narrative? You know, there's, there's always a course correction that can be made.

Nicole: Right, right. And it's so scary when you first start taking those steps and we can maybe blame media, porn, right, for giving us these, you know, scenarios where the dance is perfect every single time.

And we never see that, you know, sort of like you said, like that, um, playground moment where the kid hurts the knee and we have to pause, but then go back into the play. And so it's so interesting the ways that we can see that and know that in our childhood, but because of the narratives around sexuality and all this, you know, the pressure around the performance and it being, you know, the structured act, we seem to lose that ability to understand the same connections of play in sex, which are so deeply linked.

Right. So, and you can't. Play with full consent if there's not the opportunity to say no at any time, right? But so many people myself included in the past would just so struggle about like trying to pause the dynamic because yeah What if it ruins the fire and where i'm at now? It's like god like that brings more wood onto the fire and yes Being able to feel safe right like god, I can pause this at any time we giggle and get back into it It's like ah How hot, you know, that we have that space.

Uh,

Allen Turner: and that not only is it hot in that moment, it is hot for the moments that come after, because you know, that I feel like once you have an emotional memory of having moved through a painful type thing with somebody, you know, you can do that. So you, so you fear those moments less and less. If you're working together, if you're being present together, you're building this toolbox, this tool set that's just yours that you can pull out every time you need to make one of those switches.

Nicole: Which we could then tie back to like a somatic connection, right? Like in the same way is that growing up in your household, you had to be so vigilant in a way that kept maybe things tight, right? In a way, being able to build these relational patterns, we were able to continue to open up deeper and relax deeper.

deeper and deeper, right? Like that builds a muscle memory in our attachment of being able to open up more, which we know is a key part of pleasure, right? To be able to relax and be in the body in that way.

Allen Turner: Yeah. Yeah. I teach game design. Cool. And one of the things I'm often telling my kids is that I like to think of it like Kung Fu and you know, you've got to throw a thousand punches and a thousand kicks before it becomes muscle memory.

And the stuff that we do initially, it's a little bit of a struggle, Cool. But you have to get it in your body and things that take forever to do, like something that takes you two or three hours to do now, because you don't really understand how the tools work. We take you minutes to do what you understand, right?

And you can make those switches without the, but not even being, um, having to stop and think about it because they're just part of your present being.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Right. So then I think it's about the container, right? Like who, who are you with? Because if you're with someone where you throw out that joke about play and maybe you're doing some sort of dynamic and they laugh at you, right?

In a way that makes you feel insecure and then you close down further. So I'm curious, I guess, given, uh, How many people struggle with being able to play God in their life in general, but like let alone with sex? Like how do you support people with starting to like open up and relax into that sort of dynamic?

Allen Turner: That's a good question. I think part of it is just talking. I think it's necessary to be okay spending the time grounding with someone and grounding isn't, you know, sitting there meditating or whatnot, right? Grounding is figuring out what, where are the points that you to connect that feel safe. And you can build a foundation with it.

And those are things you can bring in, um, to whatever physical engagement that you're being with. And that could be the place where things start. And I know for some folks, you know, that, that jumping right into that, that, that physical goal oriented thing of, like, you know, I'm going to, we're going to have an orgasm, it's going to be awesome.

But. If you're taking your time, you can find them, those moments where you're just kind of saying, Hey, how does this feel,

you know, what does this look like? What would you like to do? And that's a lot of times people don't even know what they would like to do. Right. So you can have to kind of feel it out.

Right. So it's like, and recognizing that you may hit some minds. Right. And when, in those early stages, those are just things you go, Oh, wait, that sounds like something we should put a boundary around and back away from. Right. We can revisit later on when we have more trust. Right. Um, when we were more present with each other and just kind of getting them to the point where, so to me, I keep saying we're play and I say this about partners.

I believe that it's about intercourse, right? And there is billions of intercourses.

And so if, if, if our sexual engagement. Is only about this one kind of very boxed in idea of what the enterprise looks like. We're not really being ourselves when we come into that moment, right? We're, we're performing this idea of what we're supposed to look like.

We're, we're, it's like, we're, we're in a porn shoot, right? Yep. But we're not. We're, we're in our own moment. Um, we're, we're creating our own story and the only needs to be interesting and good for us.

Nicole: Right. Right.

Allen Turner: Right. And then, then saying, Hey, we've got, have you gone far enough? Right. So those first engagements don't have to be like, you know, the biggest, greatest mill sex that you have, it could just be kissing, right.

It could just be, you know, touching. It can be just, you know, just, just the process of walking down the street with somebody holding hands, right. Getting into those physical engagements where you feel safe and connected to a person. Right. It's planting those seeds that later on you can come back and say, Hey, let's do this other thing.

It's like when someone, someone may say, I don't feel comfortable doing those other things, but I'm like, but what if you were a pirate? Would you feel comfortable? Like, yeah. And so giving people those little containers, those little narratives to help them switch the lens, they're looking at something with.

So they, so, so they're, they're willing to, to give something a try, but not in a way where you're manipulating someone. It can't be about manipulation. It can't be a gaslighting, gotta be like, Hey, let's try this thing. Let's be spies. Mm-hmm. Let's be pirates. You know, whatever. What, whatever imagine imaginative thing comes to mind that makes it seem like, oh, okay, we can expand a little bit more in, in, in this narrative I ideal, and then come back out of it and say.

And I think the retrospection is important, right?

Nicole: Yeah.

Allen Turner: To come back out and say, well, how did that feel? What was working? Do we want to do that again? And I think a lot of times people will forget that part. You know, it's huge part. This to me, this is all ritual and any good ritual has, has, has a point where, um, at the end of the ritual, there needs to be a thing that brings you back to the, to, to the world that you have to, um, to navigate in.

And if you're not doing that, you're not tying off those loose threads and tucking and finding a way to tuck that energy away so it doesn't kind of cause a person to unravel, then you're, you're engaging something in a very selfish way. Cause that's just about what you need and what you want, but you're not really engaging and being present with the needs of the other person.

Nicole: Right. Right. I love the word ritual, right? That intentionality, which to me brings up ideas of romance. And for me, I'm, I'm just thinking about, you know, kind of like you'd said, some people don't even know. What they want or what sounds good to them or fun or exciting. And I think if we think about like our neuronal pathways, kind of like a muscle, like this is truly a weak muscle for most of us because of the shame of, you know, our culture where it's like, Oh, if you're thinking about that fantasizing, Oh, how bad, you know?

Right. So like, We've been trying to shut those off in a lot of ways. So actually starting to fantasize and think about what sort of roles or stories would be exciting, truly is a muscle that at first feels weak and then you keep lifting and get stronger. And I think all of us as a society need to be doing that work for pleasure.

And, you know, as you were talking about the ways that you're building this container with someone where you're close and connected and feeling safe and checking in at the end, you know, it makes me so excited about a world of playing with people through years of my life and I'm young, so I kind of want to ask your wisdom here of like, What is it like when you've built these relationship through years?

I think so much of the research shows this world where sex gets, you know, boring and dull and you feel all of that. But if you're really playing and have multiple people in the ways that you play, I mean, I'm just curious what you would say to that. Yeah.

Allen Turner: There are things to consider. Right. And I think something that most people miss.

is that our abledness is temporary. Every one of us is living in a body that at some point or another, parts of our physical capacities are going to have to change and shift. So as you move through life and you engage with people, the ways you're engaged have to change, and you have to be okay with the fact that that changes.

Finding people That you can go through your changes with and you can go through their changes with it's easier said than done because a lot of times as we're going through our changes mentally, emotionally, physically, they come with a lot of grief and a lot of shame. Right when, if suddenly something happens and you can no longer, um, you can no longer walk or you can no longer get an erection or you can no longer get wet or, you know, but all these things that happen, there is a, there's like such a.

Identity wrapped around, um, particular type of sexuality.

And when we lose access to it, we think we don't have it anymore.

Nicole: Right.

Allen Turner: You know, but if you are looking at your physical relationships with people as like these ever changing spans of things, and it's not just about, you know, cock and pussy sex.

Right. It is about also, you know, touch and it's also about, um, how you're physically present with each other. And then you recognize all the, your entire body is an organ of pleasure,

then it doesn't have to get boring, right? If you can say, Oh, let's add this, let's dress this up. You can put one of these things on, you know, or whatever we can supplements our bodies.

And enhance our bodies and we can restrict our bodies and we can do all these things that that tantalize and activate and make things feel better and, and, and we can still stay in a safe space. So I wouldn't, I wouldn't be doing that, you know, till I'm in a grave. Right. Yes, I'll be 90 years old. Positive ruckus in the, uh, in the old folks home.

Nicole: Apparently it's high, high activity in those spaces. Change in the narrative, right? It's so needed. But yeah, I mean, I think even like adding more bodies to the dynamic. Adding more bodies,

Allen Turner: yes, absolutely.

Nicole: You know, like, God, I love playing board games with multiple people. Like, right? Like, it's so fun to have more dynamics and energy and the ways that that then creates an endless world of possibilities where, you know, if.

If people are getting bored with sex, like it just makes me ask that question of like, what else is possible in terms of fantasy and play and all these dynamics? Cause, cause there is no end to that world that I truly know of.

Allen Turner: Yes, absolutely. And also don't forget, I've told friends that your voice is part of Your sexuality, right?

And just being in a place where you can talk someone into an experience of their body, that is, you know, figure out ways to be of service and to receive service, right? How did, how do you give, how do you relax enough to, to let someone give to you? And how do you adjust? How do you, how do you identify when something doesn't feel good?

How do you find words to tell people? Sometimes you don't find words. Sometimes you find, sometimes your body tells, right?

Nicole: Yeah.

Allen Turner: Sometimes there's a sounds that come out as you move through the world and as you move through your own life. Um, it's good to be present with what's happening with yourself so you can catalog and know what is your vocabulary for the, for these things so that you're able to catch yourself when, when things need to shift and you're able to watch things happen and the other person or people you can always kind of keep weaving this.

Wonderful, you know, blissful engagement, you know, of, of just being in the world, just being yourself. If you do this, you're going to wind up, at least I have, wind up letting go of more and more of these kind of boxes.

Nicole: Yeah.

Allen Turner: You know, I've had, um, this conversation with a colleague of mine, she was big into Tarot and like, you know, things, you know, the various Arcana within Tarot, and then like Jungian archetypes.

And, you know, This idea that these things are sort of like super, super universal and they're not, right? What they are, are they're shorthands. Um, they give us access to something, you know, they're scaffolding to get access to something bigger, um, and something deeper. And we'll get distracted by the shorthands, right?

So, but as you get into your comfort spaces, right? As, as, as you get into your safe spaces, as you get more understanding of your body, we, you. I think we inherently start to drop some of those things, right? And then we, we wind up in this kind of confluence of yes, where, you know, just kind of go, huh, what, what do I do now?

And if, and if it's always a yes, you just have to figure out what kind of yes it is. It becomes much easier to shift into what you need to shift into. I like the idea of leading into your trickster, leading into your shape changer and figuring out if something isn't right, how do you resolve that? Do you need to grow new eyes to see it differently?

New ears to hear it differently, new, new limbs, or do you need to remove something that's actually stopping you from being able to engage in them? You know? So, um, yeah, I know that's kind of a rambling.

Nicole: I'm tracking with you and it's beautiful. It's great. All of this content is amazing. I'm, I'm just thinking about the ways, you know, as someone myself, like an improv classes was the most terrifying thing for me in the world.

Right? So when you're talking about play or you have to kind of like, you know, we want to let go of these boxes and be in the present moment when we're not in our head, you have to let go of wanting the right answer.

Allen Turner: Yes.

Nicole: Good luck. You know, like let that go.

Allen Turner: There's an exercise that I've done, like when I've done this work, um, and when I've done work with groups where just the process of bringing people together and getting people to stop and engage their names.

The thought is, is that your name is magic. It is a spell. And every time I say your name, every time I say Nicole, I'm invoking all of this stuff. It's magic. There's stuff that I can see, like, I can, I can see your face, I can see your eyes, I can, you know, I can, you know, see the space you're in, but there's so much about you that I don't know, but I'm still invoking it when I call your name and how I call your name and how I say your name.

So, um, I get people into a circle and say, what's important about you that is being invoked when people call your name, that you want to be more present, can you make a motion for it? And get people to kind of do a somatic thing, and we go around in a circle and say our names and then show, show emotion.

Right. And then we pass around and then when we come back to the beginning, we have to kind of say hi to each other, only using emotions.

And it's amazing, especially when you have younger kids. Wow.

Yeah. That, you know, over the course of the day, they start doing that.

Yeah, I was doing a, a, a, a summer woods program where we did this with the kids and we, we broke for lunch and then, um, we came back and kids went off, um, walking in the woods and came back.

And as the kids were coming back, um, other kids are going high and they're doing the motions. And so now they had this physical engagement as those part of their process of recognizing somebody. Um, and in addition to just this kind of. Um, very distant. Hi, I'm going to say your name. Right. And so and so now just engaging each other.

Just me saying, hi, Nicole, you saying, hi, Alan has already become a physical interaction and it puts us physically in the space that we're in. Right? So, things like that, I think, and doing them in a place. Where you don't, it's like the Mr. Miyagi thing, right? Wax on, wax off. We do them in ways outside in the regular world, but we don't think they really apply.

But then we see that these things apply in all of the other spaces. Even when we're fighting against our own depressions, or our own grief, our own anger, whatever. It gives us a place to settle back into.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Yeah. I've been looking for ways of, you know, some sort of practice like that to incorporate, I think, into like trauma work.

Uh, I got into the field of psychology through, uh, working as a sexual assault counselor and then came in and, you know, a lot of that sort of initial processing is the narrative. And then I got some training on somatic therapy, right. Of trying to help people reconnect to their bodies just to even, you know, we do these like practices where you'd have someone walk next to you.

Um, up to you and ask them to check in with their body of where it felt too close and ask them to like take a step back or take a step forward. And just even the act with survivors, right. Of getting them to feel in and say, okay, that feels too much. Step back, taking empowerment. Right. But the reality is that when we're healing from trauma, like it's, You know, the continuum is going towards play, being able to play in the body and be in that way.

So I could totally imagine how a practice like you were just talking about would be really therapeutic for people who have had that sort of experience. You know, and we've all experienced some sort of trauma in this world of repressed sexuality. So like being able to go into a circle where that's actually what you're doing of like, okay, I'm interacting with these people.

I'm using my body and doing this. Oh, like, I feel like that's, The healing continuum.

Allen Turner: And you know, the other part of it is giving people an opportunity to act a fool.

Nicole: Yeah. Right.

Allen Turner: When, when we can be ridiculous, when we can be ridiculous for a moment, so much relaxes.

Nicole: Right.

Allen Turner: You know, I have a friend who has, um, she taught me this zoom game for like when we were doing big zoom groups and it was just basically like, there's like these elements, right.

And each one has a physicality, like this is rain or this is wood or whatever. And. We would pick a person in this in one of those your zoom boxes, and they would be the person who will call off like the different elements. So we basically can we just do like these kind of pantomimes with him, but one of them will be hide.

And I hide every I would go off the screen and the last person off the screen would be the next person who would have to do this thing right and doing that to start a zoom session with with students with people, especially if we're going to be talking about something that was heavy. made it, you know, people were laughing.

And so once they're laughing, once they're, they're, they're kind of feeling kind of light in their body, it becomes so much easier to switch into the meat of the, of the engagement.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. I think that if you're laughing during sex, that's the One of the best.

Allen Turner: If you're laughing during sex, you are absolutely doing it right.

Nicole: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I think part of this too is there's like this, uh, I think in psychology, it's called like the Johari window. It's like thinking about the ways that you see other people, you have insight to yourself and then the ways that other people see you. And I think, Part of this dynamic I'm thinking about is the ways that when we're up in our own head, like we hear all the thoughts, we hear all the thoughts, all the mess, all the judgments, all the, you know, and we forget that the other person doesn't see that, right?

So when we're stepping into these role plays and these dynamics or these different ways that we want to show up in the world, We have to hold that, like all that messiness. The other person doesn't see this. So you, you, you get to hold all of that up there and then give them a show. And like, what do you want to show to them through that power?

But I think it's hard to hold that reality of the world that you see is not the world that other people are seeing inside. Like there, there is that separation. And when you're aware of that separation, then how do you want to play? Play with that. What do you want to give? What do you want to hold back to create the persona?

Allen Turner: Right, right, right. And we can have personas and still be ourselves. Um, and we get, but we can also have personas, which are all performance. They're not necessarily things that we're doing to nourish ourselves. They're things that we're doing to feel like we need to fit in a particular space. Right. Um, but if you can find those personas that are you, I like to think of it like, um, Shazam, right?

This kid who's got this power to, to call out this word, but that word is actually like, um, an amalgamation of all these personas, right? And he gets to pull all of that energy together and become, you know, a mightier version of himself. Right? I think we all have that. I think we all have these characters in us.

And if you can build a relationship with those characters in you, you can invoke them when you need to. And those invocations aren't. disingenuous, they're always you, right? But they're the pieces of you that you need to be in a particular place, right? I have a version of me who is very, very analytical.

It was like, I just got to deal with the data in front of me and I got to resolve the situation. I've got, you know, a version of me that is completely ridiculous. I've got a version of me that's very crafty. I've got a version of me that really, really, really, really wants to, to serve. But, but not necessarily be subservient, right?

So I can bring all those together. I can do them one at a time. I can do them in, you know, they can be an amalgamation of bits, bits of them, but they're all always me. Sometimes new ones show up like, Oh, where did that come from? I didn't know I had that in me.

Nicole: Right, right.

Allen Turner: And sometimes our personas activate personas in other people.

Nicole: Oh yeah.

Allen Turner: You know. Yes. And that's totally the improv thing, right? Where you, you know, you start doing a thing and then we pass the scene on to somebody else and

they pick it up and we pass it back and forth. And we're not trying to win anything. We're not trying to get into a particular place. We're just in flow. Right. We're just blending back and forth again, going back into that confluence of yes.

Nicole: Absolutely. Yeah. Different parts of ourselves.

Allen Turner: Right. Like, yeah. You're in ecology inside.

Nicole: Yeah, exactly. Yes. And I think that it's important to remember the cultural connotations that make specific parts feel more difficult to access.

Right. We're thinking particularly about being socialized as a woman, right. Being a dominant, you know, strong. That's a harder, maybe part of ourselves to access, or if we're talking about socialization of men, right, the softer, you know, like all those parts are going to feel, you know, at least at the beginning, maybe more difficult to access, depending on your cultural narratives around who you are.

Right. So I think it's important to remember that, you know. If there's a part that feels like you, you're just not that strong person, I guess I'd also want to ask deeper questions about what narratives have maybe said that because some of these parts are going to feel uncomfortable to access at first,

Allen Turner: getting around the shame that shows up when you access some of those things, just so many things can just send a person into a spiral.

The self destructive, um, self hating, um, spiral just because they did something that felt good. They felt right, but they have been socialized that it should it is wrong. Yeah,

Nicole: absolutely. Which is why I think in larger political agendas in terms of all this stuff, right? When you think about how much. Time and energy is spent mentally in that space of, you know, cutting off these parts of ourselves and sitting in shame.

I mean, my God, there's so much time and energy up there that if we could let that go, step into a place of pleasure and deeper intimacy and connection. Oof.

Allen Turner: Yeah,

Nicole: that's a different world.

Allen Turner: I spent my childhood living in a space of fear and shame. And not being comfortable with my body, not having agency over my body.

And, you know, once I figured out how some of that stuff worked, I was never going to go back into that space. I think a lot of it has to do with, well, the quality of my relationships are lots and lots and lots and lots of conversations. Lots of stoppings and talking about what hurts. Lots of telling people it's okay.

Lots of giving people the opportunity to kind of restart. Lots of paying attention to how people are and who they are and not trying to make them be who we are. And then also paying attention to what does it feel good to me. And when those things erupt, finding the wherewithal, sometimes it's hard, right?

Finding the wherewithal to say, hey, this isn't feeling good. And it's not feeling good because. I have been empowered to lean into a comfort zone. I feel that the challenge, um, is it because you're doing something that actually is hurting me? Um, is it because I'm doing something that's hurting me? Um, because I'm not allowing myself to be who I need to be in the space that we actually occupy.

It's constant check in, constant conversation, and, and just making sure everybody is safe. So, yeah, I think at the end of the day, it just comes down to communication and we all fail at times with that. But if we are, if we have built a support ecology, right, if we built a kinship structure of trusted people, um, who we know will lean in and lift us up, you don't have to be everything.

And I think, to me, that's, again, going back to my legalist ish poly, everybody doesn't have to be everything. And everybody has a place in your ecology that is nourishing. And if you can figure out what that is, you can figure out what the proximities are.

Nicole: Mm hmm. There's ways in which, you know, obviously that is a dance in and of itself, right, of finding that out.

Through all types of relationships, and it's particularly easier, I think, for folks within our culture to understand that through friendship, right? Of like, okay, this is how we do friendship, but now when we add the other cultural narrative of the romance myth, where you're trying to find the one, right?

The one, and so they have to hit all of this, and if they don't, they're out, because I need to find another one. One, right? Like, okay. And then you get people who start to practice non monogamy and relationship anarchy. And so even though you're actively deciding that my values are not the one, now you're still having this space though, where your brain has been so trained in that narrative, where it's like, okay, you start dating one person, then you did a second.

And now suddenly it's like, who's better, who's better, actually, maybe that one's bad. And then your brain's so trained in that, Programming to see the failures of the other relationship rather than the joys, like you're saying, how can they benefit my world? And I think that's an active deconstruction process.

I'm still in of like, it comes up and I'm like sitting with it and watching it and noticing it, but it takes so much insight to like, watch that patterning happen.

Allen Turner: Yeah. Yeah. We will say, Hey, I'm going to, I'm going to escape this paradigm, but I'm going to take that paradigm with me. And that's what you had to experience when I began my, my journey into non monogamy.

Cause it was like, my first experience was like, Oh my God, I found this person. Right. And they're going to, they're going to feel all the other stuff. And then when, when there were things that are problematic, It was even hard for me to break away from that relationship because I felt like I had to engage it because I was doing something so far off the beaten track that this is just what you get.

And it's something that I pushed back on from whenever I'm in some of my, my poly circles where I'll see people, their way of doing it. Is there's they're kind of surfing from person to person, right? They're looking for somebody to fill particular holes. And when somebody fills up enough of the hole, they will cast away the leftovers.

And that's not, that's not a healthy way to be. Ideally, like, you know, I've got two wonderful partners. And they have two very different experiences with both of them. And I don't, Go to, uh, one because of the failings of another, right?

I am going to one because I love everything about them. And I want to have that experience with them.

I want to kind of wallow in that narrative of them. And then I go to the other because I want to wallow in the narratives of them and different pieces of me are seen with both of those people. And then I have other friends. Who are, you know, they're close to me. I, these are, these are people I love. There is not necessarily a romantic love.

They are people who that I can, I can turn to to get these other pieces of me seen. And so this to me is like wandering through the woods. I love this tree over here, and I, and boy is it fun to sit on this rock, and that's the spot right there where if you're quiet for a while the foxes will come through, and you know, over here is where I can, I can just put my toes in the brook and cool my toes off.

And so, treating my experiences of people that way makes it so much easier to make the shifts that I need to make. But I do still have to deal with their narratives of like, what's okay, you know, right. So, recognizing that even though you're building the ecology around you, you are part of your ecology's ecology.

Nicole: Yeah, their narratives, yeah.

Allen Turner: And so, it's just not just about you, it is about us. And you do what you need to take care of yourself, but there's also that something that arises that emergent thing that arises in the intersection of us, and we're all responsible for making sure that that is cared for this idea like I told all of my.

All of my love people that they're sacred and the sacredness isn't, you know, isn't like, hey, I need to keep you tucked away. And like, you know, is that I think about scarcity. It's the thing about I exist in a stronger way when I am in relationship with you.

I am. I feel more real. And I can be present, and something bigger of existence sees through me, you, and something bigger of existence sees through you, me.

That is something to cherish.

Nicole: Yes, it is.

Allen Turner: Right? So it's not something to restrict. It's something to, something to cherish.

Nicole: Right, right. Which I think it's, you know, that metaphor of walking through the forest. It's so, it's just mind boggling for me to hold how easy it is for us to acknowledge that with friendship, right?

Like, of course, like this friend doesn't need everything. We have different hobbies, you know, but the second that you add romance and sex in there because of the cultural narratives, it is a whole different ball game. And then I know, right. And if we think about walking through that forest and then we think about like, Capitalism and ownership over the forest.

I'm actually going to charge you to park to get to this forest. Cause it's mine. You're like, Oh, okay. I see how that's also like trickling into all of this too.

Allen Turner: Yep. Yeah. There's so many layers. There's so many things. If you're, you have to be vigilant because there's so many things that will come in. As toxins or destructors who break apart what the ecology you're trying to build.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Hence why I call it a practice, right? It is a practice.

Allen Turner: It is a practice.

Nicole: Not an identity. It's a practice.

Allen Turner: Love is an action verb.

Yeah. It's a thing you have to do and there's work involved with it. There's labor involved with it.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. I need your book. Where's your book at?

Allen Turner: I don't know. I'm working on it.

Nicole: Okay, good. Because I'm like, I'm ready. Like, this is great. Yeah. I want to hold some space too in case, you know, we've wandered through a beautiful garden, a beautiful forest of different conversations, but was there anything that you wanted to say to the listeners that maybe we didn't hit today through our companionship and exploration?

Allen Turner: Well, I don't know. Just kind of bringing it back to this. idea that all this stuff still comes back to being okay playing. I was part of this, um, panel at a planetarium, um, for this Afrofuturism event. And I like to talk about this because at one point someone asked me, asked us all, what is something about what you do that you don't think people get and you want people to understand?

My response was this, Play is not disposable. We live in a world that says that you need to grow up. And growing up means you lose some access to joy for some reason. Play is this, this essential part of our understanding of the world. Right? We play with things to understand the boundaries of things. We play with things to figure out how to connect things.

We play with things to figure out how to bring it into our own bodies and into our own minds. And we play with things to understand how do we act in other social spaces and whatnot. So we, we need it. It is this place of possibility. And I've already said it's this place of presence, it's this place of understanding, um, and find, if we can find ways to just be in that space as much as possible, even when you're not happy.

The, the, the partner I talked about that I'm not with anymore, when we used to love to dance. And when we would have these struggles, one of the things that we would always do is we would talk about a relationship like this big dance. And then in the struggles, we return to sway. And sway is just kind of standing there, holding hands, going side to side, right?

The simple movement.

Nicole: Yeah.

Allen Turner: And be okay returning to that sway spot. Even when we, when you're talking about the issue with like people not seeing friendships the same way they see their, their love relationships, in my mind, those are still intercourses. We are living, we are living in the world that's um, villainizes touch.

And so other people have other ways of getting their nourishment. And it's okay. So I know friends who will sit and they'll talk to somebody for hours and to them that is equal to sex.

Yeah. But it will never be frowned upon. So the intercourses are there. You know, the people talk about the different pleasures, um, love languages, all that stuff.

To me, those are all about just intercourses and points of connection, points of presence and the ways that we can play with each other. So how do you want to play?

Nicole: Right. And the pleasure of that.

Allen Turner: And the pleasure of that.

Nicole: So much there. Yeah, please, please write a book. Yeah, we need you in more context. I need more of your ideas.

I could probably sit here and talk to you for hours about this. I imagine.

Allen Turner: Yeah. Oh my goodness. We've been talking for a while.

Nicole: That's what I'm saying. I know I'm looking at the clock. I'm like, see, and, and I think that's also the beauty of life. Like if we could just even encapsulate what you just said, right?

Like Flow state, right? Like you and I have been in that flow state of going back and forth present. And that happens when we're doing the things that are connected and bring us pleasure, right? And there's so many ways in the world and systems where we have to do things that are so incongruent with our authenticity and we feel the drudgery of that every day when we're like, God, another minute of this compared to these moments where we hit these flow states with people and it feels natural and right.

And, and that, and that space where time just kind of alludes away. And if we can find more ways to bring that sort of presence into our world, I think it will be a different space.

Allen Turner: Yeah. Yes, please.

Nicole: Yeah. Well, if you feel good, I'll guide us towards a closing question for you. Yes, please. Yes. Okay. So then the one question that I ask each guest on the show is, what is one thing that you wish other people knew was more normal?

Allen Turner: That we need time to respond. So as a teacher thing, very often we will ask questions of people, and if they're not ready to fire response back to us right away, um, we take that as indecision. We take it as, um, they don't want to answer us, you know, abstinence, there's all kinds of, there's all kinds of ways that we are socialized to read that.

In reality, most people just need time to respond. And if you're gonna be present with people. Give them time to respond to your questions. Find out what kind of time do they need. Because that time is normal. Everybody needs some time.

Nicole: Yeah. And the ways that time will also change your response, right? Like you can have that response the first day and then a week later, a month later, a year later.

You might need to change,

Allen Turner: right? Yeah. Your, your, your yeses will shift and your no's will shift. You need time and some, some relative connection to figure out the truth of And to give the response, the fact that things change, that's perfectly normal.

Nicole: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yeah. And I think like even being able to sit back, especially in, you know, these open relating dynamics where sometimes, like you said, people can go from one person to one person to one person, the next, like being able to have these moments where you can sit and reflect on like how these relationships are impacting you, where you're going, like that takes time to.

Reflect and be, and maybe that aloneness to a degree, but maybe that's just my individualistic Western lens that is like prioritizing that because not all cultures do that. Right. But like, I feel like having that time to be able to sit back and like, think about these different things also shifts how I show up when I hold that space for myself to think about it.

Allen Turner: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah.

Nicole: Well, it has been such a pleasure to connect with you and to have you on the podcast today. Thank you.

Allen Turner: Thank you so much for having me here. It's great to talk with you.

Nicole: Yeah. Where do you want to plug so people can find your work and all that you do?

Allen Turner: I teach at DePaul University. I teach, I teach video game design and play stuff, um, but I also do bits of life coaching on the side.

So I have a space called chromagics. com, right? And it's about getting people to kind of sit and just, just connect. And so I post thoughts on there semi regularly and I invite people to do, um, my, my, my version of, of coaching is really just kind of walks and talks. And so I like it. Walking with relatives is one of them where we just kind of go off into walk in the woods and we'll just talk about stuff.

And feel free to reach out to me, um, via pro magics. com. We can talk, I'm happy to have a chat. I'm always happy to sit down with people and find out more about the world.

Nicole: Great. I'll have all that link below so people can connect with you. So thank you, Alan.

If you enjoyed today's episode, then leave us a five star review wherever you listen to your podcast and head on over to modernanarchypodcast. com to get resources and learn more about all the things we talked about on today's episode. I want to thank you for tuning in and I will see you all next week.

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